Wednesday, March 27, 2013



‘Everyday we wake up and we chase something or we chase an invisible God’ – Jennie Allen, Chase

After Stuck and Anything I knew that I wouldn’t embark on Chase without facing conviction.  Jennie Allen has a way of hitting you right between the eyes with truth.  The truth of our sin nature, the truth about the allure of the world we live in, and the truth about what it takes to be whole-heartedly in love with our Savior.

It took her exactly one chapter to tug my heartstrings by stating: what we love determines how we live.  I read this line on a plane on my way to Togo in West Africa where I was headed on a short-term missions trip.   As good as that may sound, to you, I knew my life still wasn’t reflecting what I so desperately wanted my love to show.   Jennie says in her video intro to the study she says that she use to care more about people thinking she loved God then actually knowing and loving Him.

I was still clinging to too much me.  Still within that first chapter she writes, ‘self esteem dies hard, especially for those of us who stand on a great performance.  The work of Christ steals all shame but it also steals all of our pride’.  Pride.  If wanted to Chase after the heart of God I was going to have to sacrifice my pride.  I was going to have to crush the image I’ve controlled, let go of my death grip on my earthly desires, and say simply: here I am Lord.

As I continued the study I knew that Jennie understood what we’re up against as Christian women.  What keeps us from chasing after the heart of God?  Fear.  The fear of what that life would look like.  Of the sacrifices it might require. 

Chase is rooted in the story of David.  If you’ve read about David in the bible you know that he made some huge mistakes.  Murder and adultery for starters but he is also the one and only person the bible ever says the Lord called ‘a man after my own heart’.  You need only to spend some time reading David’s psalms to know he was in passionate pursuit of the Lord’s heart.

In chapter three of the Chase study, the chapter on obedience Allen writes, ‘ as my view of Him grew, my trust in Him grew and my obedience to Him grew, not out of fear but because I wanted Him more than my own way’.  This.  This is what that tired, filthy mini-missionary in Africa wanted.  I found that as I read Allen’s study I was desperate to want His way more than my own.

Each of Allen’s studies have challenged me, grown me, and pushed me out of being comfortable in my Christian existence and for that I’m grateful.  Each study has had a profound effect on my faith walk and each has come to me at the perfect time.  As I find that I am at the strongest my faith has ever been I am also realizing that I’ve reached the point in my walk with the Lord where I have to jump off the cliff into full surrender. 

Allen’s Chase study includes a DVD with lessons for you and your group to watch weekly – a great feature for in-home bible studies.  I love her honesty. I love how real she is.  Most of all I appreciate how relatable she is in each video.  The package also comes with a leaders guide, a member book, and my favorite feature – discussion cards.  The kid has a box labeled ask and each week as a set of cards you’re to lay out on the table.  Each member of your group will either have a key verse to read or a question to ask at the end of the group meeting.  It is the perfect way to get everyone in your group involved (as well as relieve some of the pressure off you as a leader).

I highly recommend the Chase study, especially for a group that’s growing and thriving but ready to kick their commitment up a notch.  This study challenged me – a bible study leader, a church worker, a long-time Christian and I know it will challenge you and your group.  We wake up everyday and we are chasing either something or someone – the one.  I hope that many of you will joining in chasing the heart of God even as I will be leading my own small group through this study over the summer.


*Please note: this study was given to me for review but the thoughts are my own honest opinions.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Before, Behind, Beside.

I’ve shared recently some of what’s been churning in my heart about friendship.  About what it looks like to make new friends as an adult and how reading ‘My Yearlong Search for a New BFF’ really spoke to me about taking initiative.  When I wrote that I had no idea that relationships as a whole would continue to be a theme in my life.

It started in the fall of 2012 with a kind of a collapse of my current relationships, followed by the epiphany that I wasn’t seeking out new friendships, and as I was wading through those two I landed on my rump after hearing about mentoring in bible study.

Pat Layton is the founder of the first non-profit I worked for out of college.  She’s unbelievably awesome and I’m blessed to know her.  She is also on the speaking team at the church I attend and now work for.  I don’t think she wrote her talk with me in mind but you wouldn’t know that from how directly it spoke to my heart.

Pat broke down mentorship into three categories and I’m going to give you my version of what I heard her say:

-     Before. The people who are ahead of you in life and maturity and you want to be like when you grow up.  They inspire you and you kind of want to soak up their awesome.  You know what I mean?

-       Beside.  These are the friends that are doing life with you.  They may be better at some things than you are and you may be better at others but you’re constantly talking through the day to day and handling it as it comes, together.  I think this is what the bible means when it talks about iron sharpening iron.  And some of us our blessed to have a few people in our lives that are sharpening us daily.  This category is also important because this is where the honesty box is.  These are the people you can be the most transparent with.

-       Behind.  These are people you’re pouring into that may not be as far along as you are either in their stage of life, their finances, their relational life, or their spiritual life and you’re leading them.  You’re guiding them to where you are.  Coaching them up, encouraging them, and sharing your life experience with them.

I see an immense amount of value in having several people in each category that you actively spend time with.  This goes back to that breakdown in my friendship structure, which is – this requires initiative.  It takes time and (of course) effort to maintain relationships so are you ready, willing, and most of all motivated to keep this structure up?  That’s where I’m working on myself.  For me, more than anything else, this is requiring me to cut back the time I spend on surface relationships and really pour that time into less relationships but ones that contain depth (can I get an amen from my social butterflies?)

As I read through her categories and nodded like a bobble head about all the great points she made about why these were important I thought – who are those people for me?  And that’s when I realized I’m not living this mentoring structure at all.  My categories are completely out of whack. 

 I found that I have a list of behinds – which I love.  My inner social worker thrives on these relationships.  BUT the caution here is if you have too many in this category you’re not mentoring them well and they can drain you of time and energy to maintain your Befores and Besides. 

I have a couple pretty new people in the beside category that since learning I have to take initiative I’ve really started investing time in, inviting to do things, and loving doing life with.  So for that I’m grateful. 

The hardest thing for me is finding the people that I need to ask to lead me and being willing to ask them. I hate asking people for their time and energy. I don’t know why that is considering I LOVE when people ask me. (Hence I’m learning to say no)  So I’m working on identifying those people (I think I’ve found one and I’m praying about pursuing her as a mentor).

Pat’s lesson was so crucial for me I couldn’t help but pass on some of the wisdom to each of you. I think so many people who read this blog are in similar phases of life to where I am so I KNOW that this will ring true for many of you and that a lot of you will identify with me – your structure is all sorts of out of whack.  But hey, we have to start somewhere. Knowing where the breakdowns are is a great jumping off point for getting it back on track!


Thursday, March 14, 2013


Remember that time I promised to learn to love being outside of my comfort zone?  That was a big bite and as an all but pro eater (mostly of chocolate) I have to say, this one's hard to swallow.  But in this journey I've been exploring the idea of leading a breakout session on an upcoming women's retreat.  So you know me, I'm nothing if not diligent.  I've taken to the books to explore what people in my age range that are trying to live a glorifying life need to hear... we need to hear a lot.  But along the way, I'm reading some great challenges to myself.

So here I am working my way through some Jen Hatmaker (who I love for her sarcastic, self-mockery) and I find something I can't NOT share with you in case it turns out you're a little like me (and I'm a lot like Jen).  In John 21 Jesus is asking Peter - hey Peter, do you love me?  He asks him 3 times and of course Peter's all 'duh, of course I do - you're Jesus!' But then Jesus follows it up with a 'Ok, so you love me right?  Feed my sheep'.  (Note: that's the Becca version of the wording but you get my point, right? Right.)

This is why I love Jen.  She writes that as she read this she's like 'Great, I've got this.  I'm leading bible studies, writing them, etc - I'm feeding his sheep'.  That was me.  I work for a church now.  I'm leading a bible study.  I'm mentoring, guiding, facebook posting, blog writing, etc. I'm busy feeding sheep right?  And then Jen writes this...

And from the depths of heaven this is what I heard: 'You do feed souls, but twenty-four thousand of my sheep will die today because no one fed their bellies; eighteen thousand of them are my youngest lambs, starving today in a world with plenty of food to go around.  If you truly love Me, you will feed my lambs.  My people are crumbling and dying and starving, and you're blessing blessed people and dreaming about your next house'. (Jen Hatmaker, Interrupted)

Not seeing yourself in that statement?  Well, let me give you the Becca version.  I am bogged down in fixing my friends first world problems while there are people REALLY in need of my service all over.  Not just in Haiti where I lent a hand building a church or in Togo (West Africa) where I helped build an aquaponics center to ACTUALLY feed some lambs (kids) but here.  In Tampa.  In my community. In my neighborhood (probably not the Maserati neighbors, huh?) There are hungry lambs all up in this city and I'm busy counseling friends on what to wear on dates or how to get their tubs truly clean.

I don't want a new house but that doesn't mean I'm not always hungry for new, bigger, brighter.  I could probably have sent a dozen kids to school in another country for what I spent on purses in my two years of working at Coach but the truth is - I was totally lusting over Louis Vuittons and Burberrys' even then.  We've all got our 'stuff'.  I wouldn't mind trading my Corolla in for a Range Rover (black on black, please?).

Jen hits the nail on the head when she says we're devoted but often misguided.  I am passionate.  I am dedicated.  And I love to get my hands dirty.  But sometimes I'm full throttle devoted but I'm completely off base.  Anyone else hearing that?

Here's a little shocking confession for you.  I am a social media phenom.  I post with zeal but I rarely and I do mean RARELY ever read what people post.  I go to twitter to post in the mornings from my quiet time and I hit the home key so I can skip all the stuff people have posted since my last log in and just say what I want to say.  If they don't @ me, I just skip on by.  But I sat down last weekend and started reading.  I was curious what people were saying, what they were doing - what does a weekend look like in twitter world?  You want to know what I found?  If twitter is any indication this is what people are passionate about: TV (this is probably #1), food, pets, and working out.

Are these the burning passions of my generation?  Really?

Someone recently stated how appalled they were that I don't have cable on my TV.  They launched into everything I was missing out on (as if I've gone amish by not having Entertainment TV).  I listened and I tried to look interested.  I even nodded appropriately.  When they were finished I said: 'I guess I can't imagine myself looking back on my life and saying: Gosh, I wish I'd watched more TV'.

But that's it, right? We're not seeing the big picture.  That at the end of our lives when people stand up at our funerals we don't actually want them to say 'Becca was great.  She took the best care of her pet hamster of anyone I know and she could spout off facts about every reality star on TV... she even worked out every single day'.  That's not who we want to be. But somewhere in the bustle of life we lose focus on the big picture.  We don't realize that how we're spending our time IS our lives.  This IS who we are.  And while I'm busily fixing first world problems via text message by 9am - I'm missing opportunity after opportunity to meet real needs.  To feed His sheep.

I want to break here and say, I don't think any of these things in and of themselves are bad.  I'm not anti TV, even though I don't have cable.  I love fashion and shopping.  And I text with people about mundane things and I wouldn't trade those friendships either.  I love to workout and working out helped me lose 70 pounds and feel better than ever.  I'm not anti pets or reality TV and I sure as heck love food.  So don't hear me wrong on that.  You have to take care of yourself and it's ok to enjoy things other than feeding the homeless and building churches in 3rd world countries by all means.  What am saying is be aware of what you place in which position in your life.  My hobby can be shopping but it's not my passion.  It's not my mission.  And it's not getting the best part of me.

 I'm breaking my own norm here and I'm not going to give you the answers to the problem because I'm just not realizing I know my own problems.  But I offer this up for thought today because after attending a funeral of an amazing man of God recently I'm more aware than ever that we don't know how long our lives will be.  I don't know how long the Lord will let me hangout here on earth but while I'm here I want to feed His sheep.  Now, to figure out what that looks like...


Monday, March 11, 2013

Catching Up.

Oh hey friends!

Long time no blog, I know.  But in my defense I've had a crazy couple of weeks. After a tearful goodbye to my work family of 3.5 years I started my new job with the church exactly 3 days later.  As you can imagine it's been a whirlwind for me of closing my old chapter and opening a new one at warp speed!

But I'm happy to report that after a warm welcome - I am settling into my new routine. And new it is! New commute (hello books on CDs) , 60 new coworkers names and faces to learn, new work schedule, new dress code, new new new!

With my new job I am also trying to implement even better habits! I've found a friend to workout with my on lunch a few days a week. I newly committed to leaving a clean desk every night. I'm purposing to always be early instead of just on time. I'm packing my lunch every day. And so far, I'm loving the results!

I hope you all are doing well events I've been a bit absent while I catch up with my life which got a bit ahead of me.


Friday, March 1, 2013

New Beginnings.

For those of you who felt like you were left hanging after Thursday's announcement about the end of time with APD, have no fear - you will not be left in the dark any longer.  For those of you who were feeling sheer panic that I might be relocating or something crazy - take a deep breath!  The Lord has continued to keep Tampa my home and for that I am extremely grateful.  In fact, I'm really not going anywhere.... I will just be changing from being a member, attender, and leader at my church to being full-time on staff!  Surprise!

As with any big life decision, this required prayer and thought but I am confident the Lord so clearly directed my path.  I'm hopeful that the Lord will develop my spiritual gifts and talents and allow me to serve and be a small part of the big things my church is doing for His kingdom!  Grace Fam has truly been a church family to me these past five years (in the geographical absence of my own) and coming on staff feels like coming home.

I'm touched, blessed, and encouraged by the warm welcome they have already given me and most of all by the people who have been 'praying me in' since before there was a position with my name on it (they know exactly who they are - and the next round of Wrights cake is on me!)

Oh, I forgot to tell you what I'm doing?  Well, that I'm still figuring out BUT I will share that I will be assisting with the Women's Ministry and with Leadership Development.  I will be working under two amazing leaders and towards their vision for two incredible areas of our churches ministry.  I'm thrilled about it.  As far as the day-to-day, well, that I guess I will be finding out starting Monday.

So, thanks for walking into a new season of my career with me here on the blog.  I'm every positive emotion right now - grateful for where I came from and excited for where I'm headed.  God has again shown his faithfulness to me in this time of transition and I feel pumped up to continue to do His work.