Whether it’s a book club, running club, or volunteer opportunities, shared hobbies are easy ways to come in contact with people that you normally wouldn’t on a daily basis. Shared hobbies are relational bridges to strangers for the purpose of leading them to Christ and building lasting, enduring relationships.
I need to hold on to hope. I can take heart. The darkness will lift. The sorrow will not last forever. I’m still in the middle of it, but I know this to be true. So I write this out as a reminder to myself. Hearts do heal. I’m not alone. And neither are you.
People’s interest in regulating their sleep in order to accommodate a busy lifestyle only dates back as far as the Industrial Revolution. The development of electric light, and the rationale that fewer hours asleep meant more hours of productivity at work reshaped human sleeping habits drastically.
Ultimately, yoga allows us to chip away at external distractions to become people who are sensitive and aware, alert to the presence of God in Creation.
Since we spend so many hours of the week working, our jobs should serve a greater purpose. If you’re unsure about what your true purpose is, you might consider pursuing a graduate degree at a Christian university.
I have known now for a while that I need not look for perfection, but progress; however, recognizing personal growth in the shadow of personal failure is easier said than done.
There is no quicker way to decay in your spirituality than trying to do it alone, by staying in the shadows and hiding from the world.
Often our emotions can feel like tyrants, ransacking our happiness while we huddle in the corner, but…we can leverage our bodies to fight back.
I’d spent the week sleeping late and paddling across lakes powdered with sunshine. My body had slowed down, but when I checked my soul I found it ticking away just as fast as ever.
Jesus is clear—our focus on morality should never get in the way of mercy. If it does, we’ve lost sight of what matters most to God.
Olympic athletes offer us a glimpse of God’s glory if we’re paying attention…a slice of his splendor that you’ll never see in me.
Unlike cars, people are more than a list of features, condition ratings, and history of damages.
When sleepless nights seem impossible and stretch marks make angry faces in the mirror, your love for your baby will overwhelm it all, making the challenges of parenting not only doable but absolutely worth it.
When my husband and I first got married I found myself so wrapped up in becoming the perfect wife. I desired to be a Proverbs 31 woman so badly. I wanted to honor him and for him to be proud to have me on his arm. This meant that I needed to look and act […]
So, we fill up all seven days with house work, yard work, and job work. We drive our kids from baseball to youth group to chess club. We stuff our lives full and then pour social media into the cracks.
Before you spend the next two months perfectly chilled in your living room, hunched over your iPhone or laptop, soak up a few sensations that are only available in the summer…
I became a mother on the night before Mother’s Day this year. Our baby boy wasn’t expected until the end of August, but instead burst onto the scene precisely three and a half months too soon.
When I travel, the Holy Spirit transforms dining tables, Boeing 747’s, and jet bridges into sacred spaces. These grace-filled encounters have shown me that community can happen anywhere, even among strangers.
Whether we like it or not, life is monotonous. We do the same thing day after day, and it often feels like we have nothing to show for it. The laundry keeps piling up. The traffic on the road is always backed up. The coffee pot always burns the brew. The spacebar on the keyboard at work always sticks.
It’s easy to fall into the routine of looking at others for approval in an effort to determine our own levels of success. Here are a few tips for avoiding the comparison trap and maintaining a healthy perspective.
We pulled up to our new little cottage and just stared. This was it — we were actually going to live out our dream in Seward, Alaska of all places — a tiny little town in Resurrection Bay.
Is it ok that you haven’t found your so called “passion” yet? Do you still have worth and value even if you haven’t found the golden ticket to success? The quick answer to these questions is a resounding: YES
For singles who choose celibacy until marriage, a healthy sex-drive can feel like a curse. Despite what married people say about enjoying singleness and the challenges of marriage, sometimes we just want to have sex.
I’ve read that Jesus commands us not worry about our life — if we’ll have enough to eat or drink, and if we’ll have clothes to wear. So I thought I had been doing alright since I haven’t been worrying about my basic necessities. But then I kept reading my bible, and came across Philippians 4:6..
I am the bride’s biggest fan, the caterers’ most enthusiastic diner, the DJ’s worst nightmare. Yet in the wake of my embarrassing commitment to my early 90s wedding dance moves, I’ve decided to put in my resignation: I’m opting out of wedding culture.
We’ve inherited this body-brokenness. When we compare ourselves to a Victoria Secret model, worship our muscles at the gym, or loathe our sexuality after being abused, we forge a link between our bodies and our self-worth in a way that God never intended.
I don’t like feelings very much. I don’t like them because they are vulnerable and raw and I’d rather be covered and safe. I don’t like them because they show weakness and fear and much worse, shame.
Friends we once cared for are now close only in memory (or via Facebook status updates). Maybe the relationship ended over a specific disaster or it was subject to the drifting tides of time, place, and circumstances.
From the start people said a lot of things to me about attending Bible College. Some of them I believed at first, but along the way I’ve realized most of the things they told me were actually myths.
My wedding was tomorrow, but they were calling the guests, telling them that it was not happening. The wedding, which had been planned for the past year and a half, was being called off…the day before.
When I woke up, I went to see our new baby. I looked through a window into the nursery. One side of the room was lined with baby beds all full of babies. Except one bed was missing. And tubes and cords hung from the wall in a tangle, as if one of the babies had left in a rush.
Hello, gentlemen. Let us begin with a statement of the obvious: Winning a girl’s heart can be a difficult thing. If you have taste, the girl you’re currently in love with is probably much more attractive, talented, and well-adjusted than you are. If you have any realistic perspective on the mathematics surrounding your chances to […]
In my favorite books, I’ve learned about life, about what it means to be a human, just by sitting down and reading words on a page. I lived a thousand lives and got to be a thousand different people, which, in turn, shaped my own life.
But here’s the thing: in the absence of belief in God, Western culture believes that the only solution to loneliness is romance. Nearly all movies, pop songs, magazines, advertisements, and dating apps beat us over the head with the constant refrain: without romance, your life is not worth living.
I am 27 years old and I don’t want to be a mommy. That kind of sounds like a statement one would make at some type of “anonymous” meeting doesn’t it? Like it’s some sort of confession.
In a culture so focused on immediate response and gratification, one of the most frustrating things to do is wait. We want to graduate college, or find a spouse, or get the dream job, and we want it all today. Sometimes it feels like those things we are so desperately waiting for will never actually come.
Somewhere along the line I had been told by some friends that the bible doesn’t really teach the idea of “the one” and that is was actually just Plato’s idea, but I still thought, worried, and prayed like there was “the one” out there for me.
Eventually, every marriage is tested to some degree. Maybe through financial troubles, infidelity, loss of a job, a spouse who is checked out, emotional issues due to childhood trauma, or health problems; the friction and stress brought on can lead us to question how we’re going to hold our marriage together.
I’ve never had much time for rereading books. With hundreds of books on my reading list—a list that grew every week—to take the time and reread a particular book just wasn’t going to happen.
Unhappy people need to be able to acknowledge their feelings of negativity before they can change for the better.
And, there’s a reason girls learn to avoid the scarlet letter of a baby bump. Subtly, and sometimes not so subtly, we’re taught growing up that an unplanned pregnancy is the worst-case scenario for our future.
Depression has been a familiar and unwelcome companion through my 20s. I have had six unannounced visits over the past ten years, each visit lasting between one and six months.These excerpts from my journal will give you an idea of how I felt during these times: Nov 2003: “I don’t know what’s wrong with me. Something […]
We are called to be so much more. We need to be so much more.
Though the Christmas Season is filled with busy shopping, parties and celebrations, it is also the season where our heart strings are tugged and we feel the need to be compassionate to those less fortunate
I’m a Christian and I am divorced. I’m not proud of this marital status, but I am tired of standing in shame of it. I’ll be honest, I used to judge divorced people: “Why don’t they just try harder?” “They shouldn’t look for a quick out like divorce.” “Love means working through the difficult times.” […]
Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. (Hebrews 13:2) Thrusted into unfamiliar surroundings — a new city, new job, new school, new role — most of us have experienced, at some point in our lives, that gut-wrenching feeling of being on […]
I parked on a side street away from the disorder and risk of East Hastings Street in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. I figured “better safe than sorry” when visiting this notorious neighbourhood, especially since we had our kids with us. I’ll admit, despite my usual open-mindedness, I was hesitant to walk this area with my wife […]
I’ve always been pretty. As a baby, my parents told me I was super cute, chubby, just the right shade of brown, with a big smile. In elementary school and middle school, there were some awkward years, especially as a child of immigrant Indian parents. But once I could choose my own clothes and hairstyle, […]
I was recently reading a book about relationships and our “learned behaviors” that negatively affect them. In thinking and reflecting on this, I realized that at the root of most of my destructive learned behaviors is shame. Shame is that feeling that we are not enough, that what we did or who we are is just […]
“Twenty-five years old,” my father said to himself. “That’s how old I was when we had you.” It was a surreal conversation — I began to realize just how radically different my generation is from my parents. I had just turned a quarter of a century old, was visiting my parents. My father reminded me that […]
I was the kind of girl who crushed on boys for long periods of time. I remember sitting on the steps of our schoolyard during recess with my friends, drawing pictures of wedding dresses in every possible style we could imagine. My friends and I didn’t think about the wedding day, the marriage, or the […]
Just last year, Keith Ippel co-founded Spring, a company that takes ideas and turn them into reality. The company is an activator for start-ups, providing them with the right skills and knowledge to grow and create an impact on the world around them. Originally from Ontario, Keith now lives in Vancouver where he has been […]
Long-distance dating is hard. And given a choice, most people would probably avoid it. But it’s also quite common. In this jet-setting age where people frequently travel for school or work, there’s a pretty good chance that at some point of the relationship, a couple will find themselves in separate cities. For some couples, the […]
“Dear Lord, don’t let Billy’s memories remain anchors that he has to drag along. Turn them to treasures he can carry with him.” This prayer by a friend of musician Billy Sprague is one of the most profound things I’ve read in my 28 years. It first resonated with me when I came across it […]
November 5, 2005 was one of the greatest days of my life. It was the beginning of a brand new, lifelong adventure filled with immense joy, incredible pain and frustration along with undeserved grace and redemption. But most of all, it was the beginning of an adventure held steadfast by an undying love. Nothing would […]
I am the son of a Buddhist father of Chinese and Thai heritage, and a Pentecostal African American mother from New York City. My home growing up was multicultural, to say the least. At a young age my father briefly served as a monk in Thailand. As an adult he would occasionally go to the […]
After spending the last decade surrounded by people in their 20s I’ve discovered the topic that occupies the majority of their thoughts is relationships. They think about how to find the right person to marry and they wonder whether the person they are dating is their soul mate. Where did the notion of a soul mate […]
What do I want to order from your ten-page menu, Mr. Waiter? You have no idea the inner turmoil you are creating by giving me so many options with only three minutes to self-diagnose my food craving! The decisions of everyday life, much like selecting from a large menu, can be overwhelming even for you […]
My first real, healthy dating relationship begin and end in the span of six months. I think I experienced real love, and when it ended, felt hurt like never before, and was a bitter mess for months. I learned a lot about myself and relationships during that time. Through the process of finding and losing […]
If you’re newly married, or about to get married, this is especially for you. But even if you’ve been married for a while, you can still use these ideas as tune-ups. Here are eight things you won’t regret doing before your first anniversary: 1. Work on your sex life Yep, I’m starting with an attention-getter. […]
Picture this: a mom, dad, son, daughter and a Golden Lab named Waldo; a picture perfect family with a white picket fence surrounding their house. The fence symbolizes togetherness and joy. When I was in high school I longed for this “white picket fence” – I was longing for something I thought I was missing […]
If I asked you, “Who do you love?” I’m sure you could give me a list of the significant relationships in your life. Pondering these people probably brings up an assortment of feelings: gratitude, joy, sorrow, longing, and maybe even regret. If you look closely, you may notice some of the feelings associated with our […]
Mornings are tough for most people, but they don’t have to be. They should be a time for reflection, introspection, and above all a time to connect with the creator. To create an effective morning routine, you cannot start the morning you decide to make a change. The secret to blissful mornings begins with restful […]
I spent twenty years fat. And if it’s anyone’s fault, it’s my own. I grew up working very hard and eating very hard. I stopped working hard just as I hit my teens. It didn’t occur to me to stop eating hard until much later. My health suffered. My complexion suffered. I lost strength, then stamina. I could no longer […]
“Our present ecological crisis… has a great deal to do with our failure to think of the world as existing in relation to the mystery of God, not just as a huge warehouse of stuff to be used for our convenience.” —Archbishop Rowan Williams There’s this old statement of faith called the Westminster Confession that answers […]
The mundane doesn’t need to be meaningless. Often times, the ordinary can be the perfect opportunity to slow down, to reflect — to meditate. What do you do to unwind after a long day? Some opt for the Netflix route, plopping on the couch and turning their minds to autopilot. Others feel that the best cure […]
It’s 6 a.m. Somebody’s screaming. You groggily make your way to the living room to investigate, and find your husband, passed out on the living room couch, with a beer in his hand. The screaming is coming from your big screen TV. And it’s the most disgusting sex scene you’ve ever seen in your life. This is […]
We all have our own way of getting the job done. Some people need structure while others can’t be tied down — no way is better than the rest. In fact, different personalities are key to making a team move forward. Knowing what kind of worker you are is a great way to understanding how […]
I was talking to my married, younger sister (who knows infinitely more than I do) recently, and we talked about how many of her friends are unmarried and growing tired of waiting for guys to show interest. She told me about one friend in particular: “I feel sorry for her. She said she’s 25 and […]
“You’ve graduated college. Now what are you going to do?” It’s a pretty daunting question. And it gets even more intimidating when you realize you don’t have an answer. In fact, you may be so far from having an answer you feel like shouting every time someone asks you about your next step. If you’re […]
I’d come to the Middle East, 23 years old and engaged, on a six-month mission. I’d learned Arabic and taught English in Palestinian camp to children with dirty faces and wide eyes and ragged clothes, feet bare against the garbage of the ground. I’d taught rich wahlad in clean uniforms and learned what it was […]
In college I bought into the pursuit of body perfection. I achieved goal after goal of shaping my body, thinking that if I looked better on the outside, something on the inside would feel complete. But nothing changed in my relationships, and the inner part of me felt frustrated and confused. “Why am I not […]
Every college student has worked as a barista. At least, it seems that way. What better place to work if you need caffeine and a place to study? It’s all right there. I was newly married with one more semester of grad school when I found myself joining ranks with all those caffeine-addicted students as […]
As I move into the last year of my twenties, even the thought of owning a houseplant still seems like too much of a tie-me-down commitment. As a single, I want my life to be my own. And I must confess: I love it that way. In fact, I love it too much. In my singleness, […]
My pastoral residency came to an end recently. During the few years of my work there, my pastoral license found its validity in the denomination of that church. But upon leaving, my license expired. Certainly there are worst things in life, but my issue was that I had already committed to perform two weddings! I […]
There is a longing deep down in my gut. It is infused with pain and passion. It might not be the right kind of longing though. You see, I am single. Because I am single, I can be found prone to spiraling down from complete contentment in the Lord to complete longing for compliments and […]
Suddenly, we’re farther than I’ve ever gone before. Beyond the mind-altering sensations that follow one upon the other like stock cars on their final lap, my ears are ringing with the impact of having met this unlikeliest of all people, to whom there’s no need to explain jokes or literary references or certain secret hopes, […]
Maybe it’s not so much what you’re called to, but who you’re called to. I’ve spent the majority of my life worrying about my calling. At a young age, I drew up a map and navigated my path with precision and accuracy. And as you’d expect from anyone following a map drawn by a four-year-old, […]
Patience is known as a virtue for a reason. According to the dictionary it is, “The capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.”
If she’s old enough to be his mother, then the relationship is seen as distasteful. But wines get better with age; surely the same can be said of partners. While relationships involving older men and much younger women are still viewed as a little suspect, there is often a very clear bias against relationships involving […]
I first started working on a farm when I was just a toddler. Ever since then I’ve been tromping around cornfields and playing in pig pens. And while most of what I’ve done on the farm is far from glamorous, I would like to think that I have learned as much about discipleship in fields and […]
It is not going to be easy and it most definitely is not going to happen over night. The good news is becoming an early riser will change your life for the better. People often have excuses for not getting up early. They say they are night people, they say they stay up late, they […]
A thin gray wash of sterile-looking light barely illuminated the room on that early fall morning where Cheri and I found ourselves as far away from our goal of becoming parents than we could have ever imagined. For three years, we had pursued medical intervention to help us conceive, and now it had landed Cheri […]
I knew Jackson was trouble the moment I met him. We were both studying abroad and attending our pre-departure orientation. I was drawn to his confidence, light blue eyes, and boyish grin, yet put off by his obvious arrogance. Despite the bright red flags that urged me to run far away, my attraction trumped my […]
I’m just going to come out and say it… I hate my ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend. It’s not something I’m proud to admit, considering the kind, confident and friendly woman I pride myself on being. It’s an unwanted feeling that reduces me to a jealous and catty high-school-girl stereotype… and I’ve been out of high school […]
How a generation of millennials are working and dreaming in the new gig economy When Britany Robison’s $1,200 a month lease on her Manhattan apartment came up for renewal, she did what her mother had hoped she wouldn’t do: she walked. Instead of renewing the lease, she struck out across the country searching for a […]
“Hang out here a minute, they’ve asked me to come inside,” he said. My Australian guide opened the truck door slowly. “Um, are you sure it’s safe here? Why do they want to talk to you? Is it because of the camera?” Heart pounding, I couldn’t hold back my barrage of questions. The guide paused […]
I almost got a tattoo once. I was seventeen, full to the brim with angst, and dead set on what I wanted. I asked my parents, and while it seems completely strange when I think about it now, they hesitantly agreed. I was pretty sure you had to be 18 though, so I got them to […]
When we hear “adventure” we usually think of crossing oceans or continents. But what about finding some excitement closer to home? When you’ve been in one place for a long time, it’s easy to forget how great that place can actually be. There’s joy to be found in being content with where you are, even if […]
First, can we all take a moment of silence for the Christian male population? Fellas, I am so sorry. Lately you’ve been scrutinized both online and from the pulpit about how singleness and the lack of healthy dating is ALL YOUR FAULT. Christian culture loves to point the finger at men and shame them into […]
There I was, a knotty kneed third grade boy, with scuffed elbows and an Alfalfa cowlick, trying to solve a problem miles above my pay grade. My mom insisted that if I wanted to talk to her, I needed to ask for Genevieve. There was only one problem: my mom’s name was Nancy. I had […]
I got married too young. Or so everyone tells me. There are so many things to do and places to see and people to meet. And now I’m going to spend my days cleaning a cramped apartment, arguing with my wife, and trying to pay the bills on time. I settled. I cashed out. I […]
Leadership Jazz author Max DePree once said, “The greatest thing is, at any moment, to be willing to give up who we are in order to become all that we can be.” This sentiment is one that many self-starters are all too familiar with. Grayson Bain knows this first hand. With a bit elbow grease […]
A few years ago, if you had asked me if I would ever live in New York City, my answer would have been a confident, “Yes!” I could easily imagine myself walking the streets of New York City, bundled up in my trendy pea coat, toting an equally trendy coffee, and rushing in and out […]
I am seeing someone. If you know my dating history, this statement in and of itself is quite an accomplishment. We met at a coffee shop, and he’s charming, spontaneous, and significantly smarter than me. Like any “good” Christian couple we decided on setting physical boundaries early on in our relationship. When we asked the question, […]
Some days, we all need to pause, take a step back, and view the bigger picture in order to see the world just a little more clearly. I have a few friends who help me do that. One is in the fourth grade. The other two are 10 and 14. When I was a […]
I am a confident girl. I’m the funny, never-let-them-see-you-sweat girl. I have a great living situation, a full-time job, a budding relationship. I even have a puppy. From my Instagram and Twitter profiles, it looks like I am the happiest girl in the world. And yet, I am caught up in the most crippling bout […]
It’s stuffed in my back pocket, my purse, or in the front pocket of my backpack at all times. I can’t let it out of my sight. I look at it every few minutes, just in case I’ve missed something important. Like most other people in this world, I have an unhealthy relationship with my […]
There’s a new witch-hunt transpiring. It’s called Toxic Friend Poaching. Lately, I have noticed countless articles online urging us to identify, and then collectively shun, all those in our lives who are “toxic,” as if it’s some strange twist of Lord of the Flies meets The Hunger Games. The writers of these articles say we […]
A year ago I was battling some serious insecurity. This was deep stuff: body hatred, negative self-talk, social anxiety and isolation. But something has changed since then and I think I finally put my finger on what it is. It all started with an epiphany that occurred while I was talking on the phone with […]
Communication expert Alexandra Franzen has recently informed me that January 8th to January 14th was Universal Letter Writing Week. “When you write something,” she says, ”your words have the power to change someone’s day, week, month, or life. (Which, in turn, shapes your own life, too.) You never know what kind of impact your words might […]
If you are female — any female — you will be told throughout your life that you have something wonderful called “inner beauty.” It’s an ingenious compliment; it’s something you can say to almost anyone. Regardless of what your face or body look like, as long as you’re not a complete monster, you are always […]
I’m at a dinner with my friends. I momentarily glance up from my mushroom risotto, only to see everyone else glued to their phones. They’re busily picking the best filter to accompany the latest upload of the food they’re about to eat. And then I wonder: if I enjoy a meal and none of my […]
Goals are made for 20-somethings. In a decade defined by learning and experience, goals are specifically designed to help us accomplish what we never thought possible. And if we’re wise enough to set positive objectives for our 20s, we will only create an unstoppable momentum for our later decades. Here are some of the positive […]
In my family growing up, dressing modestly wasn’t something we discussed much. My parents were protective, but not in an overbearing “go-back-upstairs-and-change-this-instant-young-lady” sort of way. I had to beg my mom for my first bikini when I was 12, but in the end she let me get it. I wore it so ragged you could […]
And not just our minds I have a friend who prays quite differently than I do. I’m not talking about her words, although they too are different than my own. It’s actually her posture I have in mind. We were in a small group together, and when it came time to pray she got off […]
The other day I walked into Target and was confronted with a very disturbing reality. As my roommates and I giggled (yes, giggled) over the new arrival of fuzzy Christmas socks, excitedly plucked the newest Taylor Swift CD off the shelf, and finally ooh-ed and ahh-ed over the brand new Starbucks being built near the entrance, […]
We broke up via text message. No matter how many times I tell the story, people still look at me incredulously, as if they couldn’t believe breaking up via text messages actually happened in real life. Others react with anger, feeling the same rage I first felt when I read his text. I always say I’m […]
It’s 1992. I’m 19, home from university for Christmas holidays, and the crowded restaurant where I’m having dinner with my family is buzzing with activity. We are engaged in a heated discussion and my mother and I are dominating the conversation. Snippets of scalding sentences float back to my memory with raw honesty and slight […]
I was sitting by a bonfire in California when I first really heard someone else’s story. It was the summer of 2008 and I was attending a 10-day leadership program in Southern California. I was one of 20 high school seniors who had spent the last several days getting to know each other through service […]
To live, to truly live, we must be willing to risk. To be nothing in order to find everything. To leap before we look. (Mandy Hale) There I was, telling my father I was moving an ocean away. Again. He’d gotten used to hearing me say this; at 26, I had already lived abroad twice. […]
Ask Amanda: an advice column from someone who has been there Hi Amanda, I’m dating a guy that’s extremely sweet, talented, good-looking, fun and adventurous… but he’s not a Christ follower. He believes in “something out there,” but not God the way I serve Him. He’s definitely open to learning more and loves me enough to […]
In my second year of university, I took off my purity ring. I had worn it on my right hand (it didn’t fit my left) for almost four years. It was something I had acquired at an abstinence conference, and because everyone else there was wearing one, I felt like I should, too. It wasn’t […]
Predicting the future. Many of us spend a considerable amount of energy trying our hand at it, because ultimately we want to create systems that will protect the things we desire, and ward off the things we wish to avoid. Our constant attempts to direct our lives one way or another often require wisdom; but […]
My chest felt like a suitcase had been thrown at it. My lungs were mixing concrete, and I tried to take deep breaths without the success of actually doing it. Earlier that day, I had received an email that struck like a knife. I was angry and defensive and hurt. I wanted to cry, but […]
Your weekends are filled with showers and bachelorette parties for newly engaged friends, your newsfeed is dominated by your exes’ wedding photos, and you’ve just gone through a break up. It’s enough to make you want to grab the nearest spoon and eat your weight in Ben and Jerry’s. Break ups are no fun, and […]
Some pros and cons to every student’s frenemy Scroll through a student’s newsfeed, and within seconds you’ll likely come across a status update bemoaning the vices of procrastination. According to business blogger Brandon Gaille, this putting off of one task in favour of doing something of lesser importance affects more than 20 per cent of […]
The kind of man you deserve isn’t looking for a woman to complete his kitchen. While I’m sure the steaks need marinating and the fruits need washing, I’m also sure his momma taught him how to do that. The kind of man you deserve isn’t looking to shepherd you into sedated submission. He isn’t a […]
My small bare feet sank into a muddy puddle. I closed my eyes and put my nose to the purple-grey sky. As I took in the scent of rain-soaked mud and cement, my dirt-covered hands gripped my bunch of flowers and shoebox of rocks more tightly. There was nothing better than standing in the stillness […]
I hate conflict. I avoid unsparing honesty 90 per cent of the time because I fear it will result in a disapproving argument. If I know what I have to say is going to cause conflict I typically don’t say it. I tuck the words away and pretend that they don’t exist. If I say […]
In college I bought into the pursuit of body perfection. I achieved goal after goal of shaping my body, thinking that if I looked better on the outside, something on the inside would feel complete. But nothing changed in my relationships, and the inner part of me felt frustrated and confused. “Why am I not […]
I knew something was going on in my body. I felt tired. Two blood clots had developed in my legs. I was starting to bruise easily. Then, two days before Christmas 2011, my doctor called: “It looks like you have leukemia. I’ve arranged for you to meet with the doctor at the cancer centre today.” […]
We all have those friends. You know the ones I mean. The friends who get everything they want in life. Or — even worse — everything you want in life, without even really trying that hard. One minute you’re side-by-side at the starting line. Suddenly they have sprinted ahead of you and are now living […]
We spend semesters in classrooms learning the trade of our future careers, searching for the perfect internship, and then crossing our fingers that we’re good enough for consideration. This past summer, I decided to venture out of my comfort zone and into the brutal and busy streets of New York City. It was a journalism […]
“Thank you for talking to me!” His words were surprising, direct, and intentional. Yet they were woven warm with all of the enchantment and depth that makes a human being unlike anything else in all of existence. His words were heavy and laboured, nearly lost in his thick Hispanic accent. His smile lit a face […]
When I was gone one Sunday, my aspiring mega-church pastor offered my job as music director to someone else. He never told me I was being fired, he just… replaced me and didn’t plan on telling me. My wife and I had just bought our first house five months earlier based on a housing allowance […]
How technology is affecting our kids “I honestly don’t know. It’s the only thing that calms her down.” The mother of a fussy 16-month old at a high-end restaurant in Toronto shakes her head as she answers the question: What would you do without an iPad? And judging from the half-dozen other patrons in the […]
A Marine Corps vet reflects on the crushing reality of mental illness They’d brought a prisoner in the back of the humvee. He was an Arab, a puny wasp of a man, with a bush of dirty hair and large twitching eyes. His beard was too large for his gaunt face, and his neck seemed […]
Stephen and I were going to get married. Well, there wasn’t a ring or anything. And OK, we weren’t actually dating. But we would get married one day, I was convinced of it. When we weren’t spending hours alone together, we were with our shared group of friends. We texted each other inside jokes while […]
Learning to set boundaries with my mentally ill mother “Don’t you love me?” The lines around my mom’s eyes deepened, the confused pain engraved across her face. “Then why won’t you live with me?” she asked. “I don’t understand.” “Yes, mom, I do love you,” I said. But I just can’t live with you, I […]
During college, there was a time where I spent three years being mostly single. Prior to that I had been in a couple relationships that had ended in a lot of hurt. So in the three years that followed, I used a lot of energy envisioning how I wanted any future relationship to go. I spent […]
When you’re in your 20s and 30s, moving away from your hometown seems inevitable. Whether you’ve decided to relocate because of a job, a relationship, a new opportunity, or just purely for the adventure of it all, any move can be a monumental adjustment. So here are a few dos and don’ts to keep in […]
Before I left university, one of my leaders at school asked me an excruciating question. What friendships would I continue once I left town? Naively, I replied, “All of them of course!” I wanted to continue to invest in every friend I had made in the past few years. How could I not? In our […]
A toddler’s excited squeal greets me as I step through the front door. Her deep brown eyes dance as she looks up at me from the living room floor, her attention momentarily taken away from the small plastic kitchen set in her chubby little hands. Walking back to the kitchen area, someone’s singing slightly off-key […]
I took a summer vacation in Alaska. Geographically, Alaska is basically my home province of British Columbia, but emphatically less crowded. (My cubicle is more crowded than Alaska.) It was a glorious feeling to be in a tourist hub on a peak summer weekend and still feel the unmistakable sensation of space around me. This is […]
If there’s one thing I have learned about love from Instagram, it’s that love is easy. We’ve all seen the photos. The ones where it seems like some professional iPhone photographer has followed a couple around, documenting that time they both looked awesome at a friend’s wedding or had the perfect quiet evening together or […]
Why being hospitable is more about trust than being nice. This summer I travelled to three different states, flew to and from eight different airports, stayed in five homes, and slept on five beds and two couches. During my vacation, I discovered that some people use shampoo just like I read books: acquire a new one and begin […]
Dear Amanda, The guy I’m dating isn’t someone I ever pictured myself with. I pictured a tall, dark, and handsome guy and he’s not that. But he IS really wonderful, treats me well, and I could see this lasting. How can I know that he’s perfect for me, will take care of me, challenge my […]
I used to want to be a zoologist. I would spend hours watching episodes of The Crocodile Hunter, dreaming about getting paid to hang out with cool animals all day. The one problem? I have no aptitude for biology. I just wanted someone to recognize my dream and hand me the job without having to […]
Dear Amanda, I am worried about meeting my boyfriend’s parents. They do speak English, but it isn’t their first language. How do I deal with a language barrier? What do I do if they serve unusual food? What should I wear? Do I call them Mr. and Mrs.? What are safe topics to talk about? […]
You probably swore it would never happen — you would always scrape up enough funds to continue living on your own after college. But here you are, watching a reality dance competition show with your mom on a Saturday night after a home-cooked meal, finishing off the bowl of ice cream your dad eagerly brought […]
When I heard this week that Robin Williams had taken his own life I was devastated. But I was also completely unsurprised. The death of a celebrity can be a touchy subject; many use the opportunity to rail against the injustice that we care so much about one person’s death while thousands die in Third […]
We met the summer before I entered university. He was handsome, sporty, and impressively intelligent. A year my senior, he looked out for me during my first months as a frosh. It was a close but ambiguous relationship. We talked on the phone for hours, lead our campus Christian group together and he’d invite me […]
What is the best strategy for continuing a conversation when the other person clearly knows who you are but you can’t remember anything about this person — or why you should know him or her — for the life of you? Lydia (20, Waterloo, ON) Dear Lydia, One time I walked into a TV store […]
Look up on Facebook, hook up with an app The idea was simple enough. Click on the pictures of the people you know on Facebook who you would like to have sex with. If someone picks you in return, you both get an alert; if not, you’re none the wiser. This was the original design behind Bang […]
I sat in her big purple chair. It was a Monday afternoon in 2011, and I would rather have been anywhere else. I looked down at my dangling feet. This stupid chair. As if people didn’t remind me enough about my height, now this chair is laughing at me. I feel so small. Can I […]
(And I don’t mean missions trips.) I grew up in a Christian subculture where leaving the church bubble was seen as dangerous: it opened you up to the risk of temptation from the outside world. Want to travel alone or go with friends? Unless it’s a missions trip, forget about it. And while you may be […]
I used to wear my busyness like a boy scout wears his badges. I wanted other people to consider me a hard worker, versatile, and an all around good guy. And one merit badge wasn’t enough. I wanted an entire sash filled with buttons so I’d win the ultimate prize: success. So the logical approach […]
Ask me not what I have, but what I am. — (Heinrich Heine) Our world revolves around consumption. The average person, according to the marketing firm Yankelovich, sees as many as 5,000 ads a day. They’re messages about the things we should like, about the products that will make us feel good and happy. That […]
The big question has been popped. The ring’s on the finger. You can’t be more excited to grow old and wise with the person beside you. Your heart is full. But now you have to make this whole thing happen. It can be easy to get caught up in the we-deserve-it-no-matter-what-it-costs-because-it’s-our-day attitude: the industry of […]
My first summer job was looking after Duggan Grey’s lawn. I was 14-years-old, and Duggan was a veteran of the Second World War. He would pay me $100 a month, and would always invite me inside for a glass of water after work to tell me war stories. My favourite part of the job — […]
If you allow people to make more withdrawals than deposits in your life, you will be out of balance and in the negative. Know when to close the account. (Christie Williams) If relationships are like bank accounts, I shared a workspace with someone who was far more proficient at making withdrawals than deposits. She hardly ever made a positive […]
It’s just temporary. We’ve heard it, said it, and lived by this phrase. At least I have. This job, this location, this stage of life, who we are even, is just temporary. We are working towards something else, something better. Something more exciting. Temporary makes us feel better about where we are, reminding us there […]
Dear Amanda, I have a friend who has had the potential to be more than a friend for the past few years. During the beginning of our friendship we would be texting each other madly trying to talk as much as possible. In October he told me his family was leaving our church. On that […]
We were made to move. My parents immigrated to the Canadian prairies in 1978 with the promise and hopes of the great North American Dream. They were from a little place called Laos, where the average temperature is 25 C (77 F) all year round; in the prairies, it fluctuates from -35 C (-31 F) […]
I am your single friend. You may know me as the girl you have in mind for your brother, your worship leader, your cousin… or your brother’s worship leader’s cousin. But before you plan our chance meeting, let me pass on something. Being single, I’ve observed my friends and family members who are married, and […]
If you are between 18 and 35, chances are good you are living with debt. And if you’re not, it’s likely inevitable. Even if you’ve managed to avoid getting into debt in your early 20s, it’s not as if the future offers the prospect of debt-free bliss. Try buying a house without it. While my […]
Whether you’re a college student, earning some much-needed tuition cash, or someone who’s stuck in an office cubicle, I hate to break it to you, but summer’s half over. So here are seven ways to make the most out of it! 1. Take a spontaneous road trip with a friend. If you’re a student, it’s […]
Dear Amanda, Unlike most people my age, I have never been kissed and I’ve never been in a relationship. I have only been on one date my entire life, and it was a complete flop. I know that my value comes from Christ, but it’s hard sometimes. I have had plenty of crushes before, and […]
As I close in on 25 and rapidly approach 26, certain emotions and realizations are beginning to take place that I haven’t ever experienced before. I can’t help but be overcome by a surging wave of sentiment and emotion. So here is some of what I’ve realized, as I say farewell to a time of […]
It’s halfway through August, 2013. The weekend is coming up and I’m thinking about what I’ll be doing. The answer comes immediately: I’ll be doing the same thing I do every other weekend. And it’s the same thing all my other friends do on the weekends. We go hard. I’m in total denial that another […]
Hi Amanda, I’ve been through many bad relationships in the past where the guy would leave me, so in this relationship I was prepared for the worst from the very beginning. My ex and I dated for three months (March, April, May), and in the first two months I was very skeptical that this will […]
Learning to descerne when to let go, when to understand that friendships are not meant to last, where they become toxic to you is important. Forgiveness is one thing, letting go is another.
I’m setting out on a new adventure, filled with question askin,’ straight-talkin,’ and witty insights. I’m doling out advice in a new series we like to call “Ask Amanda.” I’ll have a regular column here at Converge that answers a question or two sent in by you ever-faithful readers. I’ll do my best to answer […]
When I was 20 I was inadvertently starving myself. I had recently developed an intolerance to dairy, and in response to the constant feeling of sickness and bloating, I cut out dairy entirely — and anything that might contain even a smidgen of it. Baked goods with butter, anything that contained whey protein (which is […]
I’m falling in love. But it’s not what you think. “I fall in love a little with everyone I meet.” — A wise friend of a wise friend. The beauty of that potential is starting to sink in. And as I sat across the table from some new friends this past weekend, my […]
In high school I remember making a list of places I had to travel to in my lifetime, while one of my best friends made pretend wedding invitations. Without making a conscious effort, I have stood out. I’ve been labelled everything from hippie to feminist, tree-hugger to hipster queen. People have called me basically […]
Life is not about getting engaged Amidst the graduation pictures posted on social media these past few weeks, one in particular has received quite a bit of attention. Three smiling female students from a well-known Christian college, showing off their engagement-ringed left hands out to the camera, surround the only student in cap and gown. […]
My story is not about battling obesity. It’s not about a struggle with anorexia. I am an average girl struggling with an average weight. For the vast majority of my life, I have grappled with low self-esteem. While I do scrutinize every flaw on my body and face, I’m particularly fixated on my weight. I […]
When my eight-year-old, Tate, is bored, she’ll complain about having nothing to do, but left unanswered, she’ll usually pull out some paper and markers and draw up a story, a restaurant menu, or a game board. If she’s really daring, she’ll scissor apart a cardboard box and transform it into a fairy house. When my […]
When I was 18, one of my friends tragically died overnight. She was my friend who sang Meredith Brooks at the top of her lungs in my car while we waved at other drivers. My friend, who talked about how she was unsure how to tackle this weird thing called adulthood, and how together we […]
Last year, a stranger told me that I could be a “pretty good plus-sized model.” I don’t know why he said it, but it wasn’t an easy comment to forget. I had focused on my weight for my entire life, and he was speaking directly to the insecurities that I carried around with me for […]
I can vividly remember my 23-year-old self, standing on my boyfriend’s doorstep, tears streaming down my face. “I would be happy living in a cardboard box on the street with you!” I cried. And I meant it. I honestly, ignorantly and whole-heartedly-in-love meant it. At 23 my perspective was untainted by the money, fame, or […]
Life as a resident assistant at a Christian college would have been a lot easier if I could have texted my female resident, “I know there’s a guy in your room after visitation hours.” It would have saved me a lot of hassle from knocking on her door, coaxing a confession out of her, and […]
“I don’t know if I love her.” I hear this over and over again when my friends talk about their relationships. The single guy who is anticipating marriage says, “I don’t want to commit to marriage because I am just not sure if ‘it’ is there.” Or the married guy who has been hitched for […]
I was recently talking with one of my co-workers, who was sharing concerns about her daughter. Her 13-year-old had recently taken a beautiful photo of herself and posted it to Facebook. A little while later the young girl took it down, as she explained it had not gotten enough “likes.” My heart ached in that moment […]
“God frequently speaks to us from a ‘burning bush,’ in the fretful whimper of a feverish child, in the anxious questions of a preoperative surgical patient, and in the frail moans of a fragile elder.” — Mary Elizabeth O’Brien This is my wife’s story. She told it to me after an escort shift at the hospital […]
I won’t lie, I’ve been the type of girl to get all dressed up for Bible study, knowing my crush would be there. A little sweep of blush across my cheeks, a few strokes of mascara to tint my lashes, and a lot of lip gloss. I recently picked up a Timothy Keller book from […]
“You’ve heard the old saying: Once you go black, you’re a single mother.” This is a racist statement, right? By any social standards, to say this would be completely unacceptable, but when it’s said to a room filled with thousands of people from all different ethnicities, it’s met with near-deafening laughter. Why? Because when Skippy […]
Growing up, I was what you might call a fear addict. Because I watched an inappropriate amount of scary films, I was afraid of the dark (for obvious boogie man reasons). I was scared I wasn’t pretty enough, and that no boys would ever like me. I was also terrified of failure — or worse, […]
Alex* was just like any college girl in her early 20s: bright, beautiful, and energetic. She valued her family, her friends, and her faith. Then one night everything changed. Her friend was hosting a graduation party, so Alex, along with a few classmates, decided to go and have a fun evening out. Alex remained sober throughout […]
“We loved your work last summer, and we could deal with an extra hand for the next couple of months. Would you be able to join our team of reporters in Brussels?” This was the phone call of my dreams. My carefully thought-through reaction was a squeaky, “Yesyesyes, when can I start?” as I scribbled […]
Spring is in the air. And we all know what that means. Sunshine and rainbows. Did you think I was going to say love and marriage? (Wait, actually, those are contenders). But back to what I was saying. The coming of spring has given me pause to reflect on the year. And it has been […]
Sometimes I wish BuzzFeed quizzes told me more than what font I am (Futura) or how many Justin Biebers I could take in a fight (14). While taking on 14 teen pop sensations in skinny jeans during a fight seems overly ambitious (I would probably be more comfortable with 12), sometimes I wish making relevant-to-life […]
“You can be anything you want to be.” Or so we’ve been told. Countless times. The phrase now rings a familiar tune in my ears. I’m still not sure how I feel about that statement. My response has consistently been, “Well, you really can’t quite be anything. That’s a bit of a stretch.” But I […]
My husband and I had been married just a short time before buying a plane ticket to Europe. Here are some things I wish we would have known before getting on the airplane. 1. Pack less than you think you need My husband Jacob and I spent weeks agonizing over what to pack for a six-month […]
I thirst for adventure. I watch movies like Divergent, or read books by Ted Dekker, and when the stories are over, I am left feeling on edge, ready to do something amazingly heroic, ready to walk away with the girl. But I have a problem with this. I don’t have many opportunities to save the […]
There’s something extraordinary about the authenticity of a face-to-face conversation, sitting across a coffee table from someone, letting them peek into the corners of your heart and mind. Unity begins to grow while sitting with others cross-legged on the kitchen floor, eating finger-food you prepared together and wiping the grease on your pants; African voices […]
When I told my friends and family that I was going to live in the country of Georgia to teach English for four months, I was sent off with many well-wishes and expectations: primarily, that I would “shine my light” in the foreign land. Truth be told, I had been more interested in gaining work […]
It’s 2:45 p.m. In 10 minutes I will resume my day, but for now I have a few moments of quiet. I pick up my mostly empty mug and scroll through my Facebook news feed. Then I see a news article that stops my breath. “Victim in fatal crash identified as head pastor of …” Above the […]
When I tell people I have a twin brother, they inevitably respond with one of two questions. 1. Does he look like you? Or 2. Are you two close? Number one is easy to answer: no. I’m a girl so we’re not identical, and besides brown hair we really don’t share any physical features. Number […]
On the day I got married five and a half years ago, my wife-to-be slipped my wedding ring over the fourth finger of my left hand. It was loose — we hadn’t sized it properly before the wedding, and so it jostled back and forth between my other fingers. Even after we resized it later, […]
Last week I shared an article on Facebook from The Daily Beast which blamed anti-vaxxers for bringing the measles back to New York City. A hailstorm of arguments ensued. Good people, people I love, people I respect, even people I hadn’t spoken with in ages were arguing adamantly for or against vaccinations. It gave me a lot […]
Several weeks ago, I attended The Justice Conference in downtown Los Angeles. The event is an annual convergence of Christian thinkers and doers in the world of social justice. Each morning before the conference began, my coworker Becky and I walked from our hotel to the stately Orpheum Theatre, sweating in the dry LA heat. The […]
“Daddy, what do you do?” It was a simple question, but it stopped me in my tracks. I’ve worked with charities since before my daughter was born. She has been to my office when I worked at a homeless shelter. She has waved good-bye when I’ve travelled overseas doing relief and development work. We talk […]
Surviving in the business world doesn’t just happen automatically. Here are four things Christian businesspeople should remember on their way to success. The plane is going down. You recall the flight attendant’s seemingly inane demonstration while you were still on the tarmac, but now you’re grateful for that one piece of advice. Amidst the chaos […]
Make no mistake; it is a tough choice to allow yourself to fall in love in the midst of a brain tumour scare. Either you embrace it or walk. I met an incredible man who just got me, down to every last eccentric quirk. Friends and family watched as I dated a man who had […]
I used to have this recurring dream where I’m traveling on a high-speed train in a foreign country. Suddenly I’m captivated by unknown scenery. I reach for my camera and zoom in, but it won’t focus. And the moment passes by. I’m left banging my hand against my pillow while simultaneously slumber-swearing. As single Christians, […]
These musicians all have a story to share about someone who encouraged them to develop their musical gifts. And it’s a good thing they do. A word of encouragement isn’t everything, but it does make a difference. In this case, it contributed to the development of seven Christian recording artists in Canada. Encouragement changed their life Jennifer Jade Kerr “Back in university […]
If you were to ask anyone who knows me what my most obvious foible is, it would probably be my complete and utter lack of physical direction. Before the advent of GPS, my family could expect about a half a dozen phone calls (or more) if I was out and about. Asking directions from me […]
For most of us millennials, the North American Dream, the promise of prosperity and success to anyone willing to work hard enough, is long dead. It died before we were old enough to care. (Although we suddenly started caring when we graduated college, as we found ourselves employed in coffee shops once again.) My husband […]
In 1994, the international community and many Rwandan church leaders knew that genocide was coming. Most remained silent. Within the span of 100 days nearly one million Tutsi Rwandan civilians were killed in a vicious blood bath. More recently, the world watched in horror as thousands of Syrian civilians were slaughtered by the Assad regime. And right […]
For all you singles out there, if you think marriage will solve your problems, and that you’ll finally be complete once you tie the knot, I’m here to say this: think again. I have been married 14 years. And here is my story. I was a miserable single person, and I thought marriage would fix […]
I graduated college 642 days ago. And for 642 days I have asked myself, “Who am I? Am I doing this right?” In each day since graduation, I have felt — even if it’s just for a brief moment — completely lost. A lot has gone right in these 642 days. I’ve married my best […]
And why getting rid of paper bulletins and disposable coffee cups won’t cut it I remember the first time I walked into a “home-church-that-outgrew-the-home” gathering. The crowd was young, and I’m pretty sure the meeting space was a yoga studio the other six days of the week. As if this wasn’t different enough from my […]
It happens every day. I’m sitting at a red light on my way to work; listening to my music, coffee in hand. In my own little world, just thinking about how many minutes late I’m going to be. When suddenly, I see him. He is dressed in plain black pants and a winter coat hardly thick […]
We sit in a circle of sunlight on the rug, with my son Kasher on my lap and my other son Aiden beside me. We open the children’s Bible, we choose a story. They always like the exciting ones. The stories about Noah and the ark, about David and Goliath, about three men being thrown […]
It’s 1996, I’m 16 years old. My haircut’s faded, my jeans are baggy, and my down filled jacket is big enough to fit me along with two more friends. Slouching in my chair at the back of the classroom was my standard swag for Wednesday night youth meeting. As a church kid, this was one […]
When I lived in New York, it was so hard to choose. Out of the countless different things the city offered, I could never decide where to eat, what to do, who to see. Since moving back to my home country — Myanmar — I have seen how the majority of people here have very […]
Lately, I have found myself in conversations with friends about relationships and commitment. I’ve heard them say, “We will be together as long as it works and if it stops working, then it will end.” There seems to be a distrust and even a suspicion of marriage. These are friends who have relationships I admire […]
I’ve long admired the mythical legend of the phoenix: a firebird bursting in flames of ethereal light, able to rise above even its own ashes. The depiction of the phoenix ranges across cultures, but its symbolism remains virtually the same: one of immortality, resurrection, and rebirth. My grandmother had a talent for taking frayed and […]
Should I, or shouldn’t I? It was a question I constantly asked myself during an extended season of tension with my church community. And as time ticked away, the tug in my spirit became stronger. Though I had made progress with individuals at my church, despite various shortcomings on both sides, there eventually came a […]