God Using People to Heal People is Plan A

bebraveApologies upfront. I have no idea which book I copied this excerpt from. I know I’ve had it for several years as something I read in a quiet time from time-to-time. It is such an upside-down Wild Frontier thought that is eye-opening.

“One day, sometime later and after going into counseling myself, I realized my depression and my feelings of emptiness were gone. I actually felt good about life and about me. As I examined my feelings, I discovered I was both happy and disappointed. God had changed my life. My life had taken a 180-degree turn. But God had not healed me when I had sought healing. He had no supernaturally ‘zapped’ me. God’s supernatural zapping seemed like Plan A to me. As I talked about this disappointment, people told me the same thing over and over again: ‘But God uses people too.’

“I hated hearing that phrase. I had wanted God to touch my depression instantaneously and heal me. Instead, he used people to help me. I came to call this God’s Plan B. I thought that when God supernaturally intervened and healed, it was Plan A. And this was true spiritual healing. When God used people to heal, it was the ‘inferior,’ although effective, Plan B. I accepted that I was one of those people who got Plan B. So there I was, grateful and somewhat disappointed at my grade B healing. It was good, but felt more like sitting in the bleachers than in the box seats.

“Then, one day I made a discovery in Scripture that changed my way of viewing Plan B: ‘From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.’ (Ephesians 4:16)

“I could not believe it. I read the verse again. Not only was it true that ‘God uses people too,’ but this was not Plan B or second rate at all! In fact, people helping people was Plan A! The Bible said so. Not only that, but it was not just people doing it. It was God himself! God was working directly through people when they were helping me. So Plan B was the original Plan A after all.”

God’s plan is to use people for healings—every kind of healing. God’s plan for us has always been for it to be through the Church and the people who make up the Church. I find such people in my church, specifically that small group I’ve chosen to be vulnerable with. These people walk with me through everything—whether it is emotional, spiritual or even physical as I meet with doctors (who are people) to seek healing. I must be involved in a church so I can receive healing. Continue reading


Long Live the Dating Culture (Screw the Hookup Culture!)

bebraveAccording to new research from YPulse, half of you are actually dating. From what you hear is that everyone in the late teens and early 20s only hookup these days. This is not true.

The research found out that 50 percent of 13- to 32-year-olds have been on a formal date. The dating coachresearch also found out that the majority of those in a relationship met their significant other in an old-fashioned way: 32% met at school; 22% through mutual friends/family; 9% met at work. People are meeting each other, finding interest in each other and asking each other out.


Sadly, hooking up is a real thing too. It is happening. But it’s not happening as much as all the pontificators say it is. Also true is that sexting is a thing—34% say they have sexted, and 15% say they have “naughty Snapchatted”. But the research also found that the majority want stability in their romance, with 75 percent saying they want to be in a long-term committed relationship. 75 percent.   Continue reading


Final Marks

crazywriterToday, I walked out of my high school for the last time as a sophomore. Usually, I slip out a side exit to walk home more quickly, but I left through the main door today. For the drama. I will never forget how it felt to thrust my hands against that door, push it open, walk into the thick summer heat. I will never forget how it felt to walk by the rocks at the front of the school, intentionally between the second and third smallest. I will never forget stopping, looking back on the campus, and sprinting back to my house. I will never forget this past year.

As a freshman, I received straight A’s. I got good grades, put forth my (sort of) best effort, and did what I was told. I generated work like a factory. That’s what most students wish for–those high percentages necessary to get into a good school. I did not achieve those high percentages this year. My grades weren’t God-awful–I passed all my classes with better than D’s–but they weren’t anything to write home about, and I just wasn’t the student I once was. In fact, if my freshman self could have met my sophomore self, she would have been shocked. How dare I miss half my homework assignments? How dare I drag myself into school ten minutes late every morning? How dare I doze off during my first classes? She would have been horrified.

Maybe it’s true. I have been a bit horrific. A lazy, tardy, woolgathering slob with a slight disregard for mindless authority. But in letting myself go, I lit up a whole new part of me that I thought was only drenched wood. On required reflections, I turned in the truth. I went against the grain. I voiced my opinions and let my wittiness shine through. I was honest and open, with genuineness gracing everything I wrote. I made impromptu motivational speeches to my class. I went out of my way to uplift and inspire. When I read through all my yearbook signatures this evening, I began to tear up. The blank pages were covered not in scrawled have-a-great-summers, but in paragraphs. Paragraphs thanking me for my optimism, creativity, and loving personality. Paragraphs written by students, telling me that I have made a difference in their life and changed their worldview. Paragraphs written by teachers, telling me that I have inspired them. Paragraphs reminding me of my own worth and value. Paragraphs thanking me for being me.

I have done something this year, something far more important than my homework. I have done what seemed impossible before. When I open my yearbook and see those beautiful paragraphs, when I reflect on the positive imprints I have made on the hearts of others–I I realize that those are my final marks.

Those are the marks that count.


First Date Jitters Are Good


Be Brave

If I hear one more time that “I felt so comfortable on this first date…I didn’t have any anxiety at all…”

dating coach

Dating coach

Then I’m going to tell you that you just dated the same type of man or woman you’ve always dated. And since you are still dating and still dating the same type of person, this one is not going to work out either.

First date jitters are good. You should be jittery, have butterflies in your stomach, and have sweaty palms for a first date. You are about to meet a new person whom God has created. A new person who has drawn your interest probably because he/she is worth that interest. This is exciting. This is being vulnerable. This requires bravery. You should be jittery.

You should be jittery for several dates worth. Because hopefully you are on this journey of discovering who this new person is—and discovering who you are in the process. This is exciting. This is being vulnerable. This requires bravery. Being jittery should be embraced for as long as you can—because you are being discovered in the process.

If you don’t have first date jitters then you have either dated the same kind of person yet again or you have chosen to live numb. Both are not good.

Be brave with your jitters.


A Prayer About Trusting Jesus in Transitions

bebraveThe prayer for June 9 from a fave book, Everyday Prayers:  365 Days to a Gospel-Centered Life:

“Dear Jesus, in the morning, at midday, in the afternoon, and throughout the night, keep on bringing us word f your unfailing love.  That’s all we need; that’s all we really need.  By the Holy Spirit, incessantly gossip the gospel in our inmost ear (love that!).  Wrap the good news of your boundless, endless affections around our hearts tighter and tighter and tighter. Permeate every bit of our being with your fresh mercies, steadfast love, and transforming grace, for we have put our trust in you.

“Jesus, it’s the assurance of our unfailing love that enables us to trust you with the transitions we go through in life and the uncertainties about the future.  Change is never easy.  Change makes us feel vulnerable (a word I use often), fearful, and insecure.  We get tempted, once again, to be our own savior.  Spare us that misery, Jesus; spare us and those we love.  Don’t let us go there, even for a moment.  May your Word dwell in us richly, your peace rule in us powerfully, and our glory be our main passion and delight.

“We’ve entrusted our lives to you, Jesus, because you alone are trustworthy.  We’ve given you our sins, wounds, brokenness, and weakness.  Now, in fresh surrender, we give you our planning for the next season of our lives.  Show us the way we should go through our transitions–transitions of age and stage, career and calling, health and finances, relationships and ministries.  Write stories of redemption beyond our wildest dreams and hopes.  It’s all about you, Jesus–not us, you. Continue reading


Brave Dating Practices Shouldn’t Ruin a Reputation

bebraveBrave dating is dating to discover who you are. The result of this learning process will then lead you to a good match to give you that love for a lifetime you desire. This takes practice which means doing some practices which means doing some dating. Because vulnerability is involved, you must approach this process with bravery.dating coach

To discover who you are so you can find a good match you may need to date. Maybe a lot. Because you may need to date a lot should not mean you have a bad reputation.

Why do those with small-minds think that if someone dates a lot that this person is “bad?” Yes, I name-called there. It is also a truthful description.

I’ve heard the comments. “She’s just a tease.” “She doesn’t take anyone seriously.” “He’s led her on.”

These comments get made because there is an element of truth to them. There are people like this. But—and I will declare this as loud as I can—those who are trying the brave dating practices are not those people. They are being vulnerable by giving honorable people a shot. They are not just sticking with “their type” but are wondering if that honorable person who is not immediately their type could be a good match.

I’ve overheard these comments (because no one would make them in my presence because I would respond). “You asked her out…good…when is the wedding?” One date leads to a wedding? Is that healthy? If that one date didn’t really work out (or the next five), it simply didn’t work out. It’s that simple. No one led someone on. Two people took a risk. Two people made themselves vulnerable. And it didn’t work out. Better to try and take that chance, I say. Others say that someone has a bad reputation. Stop it.

One date or a couple of dates does not make a match. One has to have these couple of dates to know that it is not a match. Isn’t there more harm by staying with someone because you have had a couple of dates because you need to stay with this one because there have been a couple of dates? Isn’t it the braver person to realize that a match is not a match after a couple of dates by ending that part of the relationship at that time?

But instead we get cheap malicious comments. And couples who shouldn’t really be together but are now too emotionally-involved to get out of the relationship in good health.  (There is a future blog post in this.)   Continue reading


Another Blissful Peak

crazywriterI looked up at the night sky and began to cry with joy. It was a perfect evening, dark and mildly chilly. God was with me. I know because I felt him. My mind was completely at peace, free of worry or regret. For one rare evening, I lived completely in the moment. I felt the night surround me, clearing my mind. No past reflections. No future daydreams. Just that one, delicious slice of here-and-now.

I had been living so wistfully in the sweet past. Constantly dancing around in my memory, passively wishing that those moments would once again become reality. I had given up seeing the future as full of even better possibilities. To me, the peak of my life had already come and gone. But on that one evening, that one beautiful evening, my eyes were finally opened to the blessings lying before me. I finally fell all the way in love with my life as it is right now. I realized that I stand upon another blissful peak. It is different from the one I stood upon before, but of course, because nothing is ever exactly the same twice. But this peak is no lower. The view is not any less gorgeous. Different does not mean inferior.

I am proud of myself. I am calmer and more contented than I was six months ago. I feel less insecure. I am less childish, but still just as childlike. It’s as if all the troubles I endured have sanded me down into a finer, softer work of art. Finally, truly, I feel like those troubles have paid off and subsided.

It is beautiful.


The I in “I Do”

bebraveThose dreamy words of “I do” are made up of two words. Duh. I’m sure there is a good blog in there about the word “do” when it comes to marriage. But there also is about the word “I”. To say “I do” you have to know who I is. Duh.

Yet too many people miss this duh thought. Too dating coachmany have contorted themselves to find out if they are loveable. They have no idea who they are as they say “I do.”

I have an idea. Take yourself out on a date. You. Just you.

Find a beautiful, romantic quiet restaurant. Order fancy. Enjoy the ambience. In that ambience, answer these questions. Journal your answers. You may need to order dessert also to get through all of these. Go ahead and do it. You may also need to get coffee someplace. Go ahead and do that also. Try to do this all in one long reflective night.

Honestly ask yourself these questions:

  1. How are my relationships with my family members?Do any of those relationships need healing, forgiveness, or confrontation?
  2. What are the positive values and traits I have learned from my family of origin? What are the negative ones?
  3. What in my past has shaped me in a harmful way?
  4. What are some words that describe me?
  5. How do I feel about my body?
  6. What habits in my life are harmful or unhealthy?
  7. How do I approach my interactions with others?
  8. What situations make me feel the most defensive? Angry? Stressed?
  9. What things do I think about the most? What things do I talk about the most?
  10. Am I more of a listener or a talker? Do I need to work on either area?
  11. What are some things I hope to accomplish? Am I on the right track? If not, what is holding me back?
  12. What is on my bucket list?
  13. How would I describe my spiritual life and personal relationship with God?
  14. How have I grown spiritually over the past year? What has kept me from growing?
  15. In what ways do I communicate with God?
  16. What spiritual disciplines do I need to improve on?
  17. In what areas of my life do I need God’s forgiveness?
  18. In what areas of my life do I need to forgive yourself?

Continue reading