A Few of My Favorite Things {October 2016}

Here ya go, my monthly “what’s up with me” and “what I’ve read” update. ~Elizabeth

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Our whole family participated in a youth retreat for international teens. We traveled down to Kep, Cambodia, a place we all love. (I described how much I love Kep here on Facebook.) It was refreshing to be in nature and to be with young people earnestly seeking God. I still love teenagers! Jonathan led the teaching times, and I was a small group leader. I also presented a session on eating disorders, which opened up a lot of deep and important conversations. The weekend in Kep rekindled my relationships with some of the youth and began relationships with others, as well as reminding me that in-real-life ministry is the thing for me, better and more life-giving than online ministry.

I attended lectures on the dangers of technology that were presented by Brad Huddleston, the author of Digital Cocaine. These lectures were, for me, the capstone of several months of searching and seeking God in my technology use. I knew something was wrong; I didn’t quite know what it was. I also didn’t know what to do about it.

Brad’s lectures were full of grace and truth and provided both the scientific and spiritual impetus to take a modified tech break. Did you know the brain responds the exact same way to digital input that it responds to addictive drugs? Addiction is addiction is addiction, and the brain doesn’t differentiate. I took tons of notes on his three main addiction emphases: pornography, video games, and social media, but my favorite line from the whole lecture set was this: “We have to fall in love with parenting again.” Intrigued? Drop me a comment or a private email and we can keep talking. Or head over to Brad’s website and see some of his material for yourself.

I took most of the month off from blogging. I thoroughly enjoyed having the extra time to read more books (you’ll see the results of that free time below), and the decision really broke the pressure of feeling like I need to produce, produce, produce.

But I also learned an important lesson: I am not worn out by the tension in my roles as much as I had assumed. I had assumed that the reason I felt so stretched was because I was trying to balance my roles as mom, wife, home school teacher, and writer, and that the roles competed with one another. Now, some of those roles may very well compete with each other, but I am still just as exhausted at the end of a home school day whether I write in the evening or not. It is the day-long act of teaching my children that wears me out, and that’s probably important to remember. There’s just no way around the fact that home schooling is a time-consuming and energy-consuming job (or as I like to call it, “vocation”). That said, I am going to continue being picky about the number of writing projects I take on, in order to simplify my life and reduce my deadline stress.

A special drama teacher who is teaching and inspiring me. You may remember we joined a home school coop, and we are loving it. We love getting to see our friends once a week. My boys and I are loving the Robotics/coding class we’re taking together (it’s reminding me of all the things I learned in college and have since forgotten). My girls love their classes too, especially when their last class is done early and they can visit the school library (yes they are girls after my own heart). And it will give me a chance in the last half of the semester to teach some hands-on math classes, reviving my old self in a way.

Every student also participates in drama class. Now, I’ve never been interested in drama and don’t consider myself dramatic, though both my mom and youngest sister are and were. But this drama teacher (she’s also a friend), she is somehow speaking the language of my soul. She talks about the kids going through a character’s emotional journey. She talks about the play never being about just one person but about the entire community coming together. She talks about telling a story, not just with voices, but with bodies too. When she talks, I feel like she’s saying everything I’ve learned and am learning on other planes, but on the dramatic plane.

I got to teach a hands-on math class at coop this month and loved it. It had been so long since I’d taught in any capacity like that, and I was nervous. But I had so much fun cutting Möbius strips along with middle and high school students. I was swept up in the excitement of it all and had a difficult time coming back down to earth to help out with the younger kids’ class the next hour! I’ll get to teach more “math lab” classes in November and December and am looking forward to that too. Teaching math and science classes to upper level students really is where I belong. And really, if you think about it, it’s just another form of youth ministry — because the mention of God is almost always going to make its way into my classes.

But best of all? Tomorrow by this time, we will be greeting my Mom at the airport! We are all beside ourselves with excitement.

 

BOOKS

The Monster in the Hollows by Andrew Peterson. As I mentioned last month, I found a convenient stopping point in Peterson’s third book in his Wingfeather Saga. I took a few weeks off from reading Peterson while I read the first three books in this list, and then I returned to it. Well, turns out I stopped in one of the only lulls in the entire series, and was again and immediately swept back up into the story, staying up too late many nights to do it.

The Warden and the Wolf King by Andrew Peterson. This is the last book in the series, and it wrecked me. Still does when I think about it. I talked about it on my Facebook page which you can read here, but be forewarned that even though I tried to keep my comments as vague as possible, there may be partial spoilers in the comments.

Breaking Busy by Alli Worthington. One of the great things about taking a month off from writing is that you clear some head space to read other people’s writing, and this book was the first one I read. It was mostly memoir, so not exactly what I was looking for (I was looking for more instruction), but I gleaned this very important nugget from the book (and now you can have it too):

Self-care is not the same as self-medicating.

A lot of times we (including me) like to talk about self-care, but what we are doing is not actually caring for ourselves; it’s medicating ourselves. For example, eating too much or eating really unhealthy food as a coping mechanism is not self-care. Taking the time to exercise or prepare some nourishing food, that’s self-care. (A cup of coffee by oneself, or moderate amounts of chocolate still count as self-care!) Self-care is taking some quiet time to read a book, not binge-watching shows on Netflix. It’s using technology to catch up with friends far and near, not mindlessly scrolling our Facebook feeds. Sometimes we defend our self-medicating efforts as doing good self-care, but we are lying to ourselves. Anyway that was a real light-bulb moment for me, and I hope it helps you as well.

Crazy Busy: A (Mercifully) Short Book About a (Really) Big Problem by Kevin DeYoung. After finishing Breaking Busy, I was still craving something more, so I tried Crazy Busy. What Alli’s book skimmed over in the theory department, DeYoung made up for in his book. DeYoung does an excellent job of describing the ways we (sometimes unintentionally) contribute to our crazy busy-ness. The message of both these busy-ness books lined right up with Brad’s lectures and my writing break. Most relatable concept: the definition of the old-fashioned word “acedia.” According to Kevin,

Acedia is an old word roughly equivalent to ‘sloth’ or ‘listlessness.’ It is not a synonym for leisure, or even laziness. Acedia suggests indifference and spiritual forgetfulness. . . . As Richard John Neuhaus explains, ‘Acedia is evenings without number obliterated by television, evenings neither of entertainment nor of education but of narcoticized defense against time and duty.'”

He goes on to explain acedia even more. I never knew what it meant before, but I know I am too often guilty of it, and I was glad to have someone put these things into words.

The Blue Parakeet: Rethinking How You Read the Bible by Scot McKnight. After Crazy Busy I cracked open McKnight’s book, in part because I linked to an article of his last month and I thought I should give his book a try. I had gotten the impression from some that The Blue Parakeet was similar to another Bible-deconstruction book that did absolutely nothing for my faith, however much others had assured me it would. So I’d avoided it until now. But the two books couldn’t be more different. Where the other book removed the breath-of-God quality of Scripture, McKnight’s restores it. The Blue Parakeet gives a framework for understanding the meta-story of Scripture, the individual stories in Scripture, and the stories of our own lives. And what’s even better, it paints a beautiful picture of God’s desires for us for experience and enjoy oneness with others and with God, in the same way the Trinity has eternally enjoyed oneness. Then the last section is a guide to re-thinking women’s roles.

(As I’ve mentioned before, John Stackhouse’s Finally Feminist is an excellent, balanced, and short starting place for thinking through these issues biblically, and I highly recommend it as well. And if you want to read how I have personally wrestled through the various Bible passages, you can read Paul, the Misogynist? and Weaker But Equal: how I finally made peace with Peter.)

Mark: The Gospel of Passion by Michael Card. Yes, I’m still reading through this (slowly, apparently). This month I hit the Transfiguration story – you already know I’m captivated by that story, right? – and for days I couldn’t stop thinking about Card’s interpretation of it. He harks back to the desert wandering of the Israelites. Why did Peter want to build three tents? Maybe it wasn’t to bestow honor on Moses, Elijah, and Jesus like I’ve always thought, but to hide their overpowering glory, in the same way that Moses’ face had to be veiled after meeting with God. But instead of the apostles building tents (tabernacles?) to hide the glory, God provided a cloud to descend on the three and to hide the glory, in the same way His glory was hidden in the cloud in the wilderness. It was a fresh take on the Transfiguration (for me, at least).

Straw into Gold by Gary D. Schmidt.  This retelling of the classic Rumpelstiltskin fairy tale was recommended on the Bibliophiles podcast. It’s a what-if story – what if the prince were actually taken from the queen? – with threads of grace and forgiveness running through it. It’s a short literary treat that offers delectable imagery, like “fingers of sunlight” that reach over the edge of the world.

Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World by Henri Nouwen. I’ve had this book for a while but had been avoiding it because sometimes Nouwen can be quite dense. This little book, however, is not dense. It’s deep, but it’s an easy read. It’s written as a letter to one of his friends, and each of the few sections can be read in one sitting. Confession time: I was having particular trouble loving my neighbors this month due to their extended playing of loud Khmer music during school hours and even early in the morning during my “quiet time” hours. But as I read about how my own belovedness can teach me the belovedness of others, I remembered how very much God loves the loud neighbor next door, how very much God loves the man (okay, men) peeing all over the street, how very much God loves the brothel owners, yes, how very much God loves all of us, including me. And as is wont to happen when I meet with the God of the universe, I cried. It was a good thing.

Other in-progress works:

I’m still reading Consider the Birds along with the Velvet Ashes book club.

I’ve cracked open Christopher West’s Theology of the Body for Beginners, upon recommendation from my Anglican friends and in search of even deeper healing from disordered eating (but boy is it DENSE, and it’s only the beginners’ version!). Most important point so far: In spite of all the grandeur of the Cosmos and the wonder it inspires in us, what God says about humans (including our bodies) is that we are better than the rest of creation. It says it right there in Genesis 1, but I’d never thought of it that way before. Our bodies are good, and our bodies are important, and that’s something a talking head like myself, who would happily live only in my mind, can forget all too easily.

I’ve also picked up Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Death by Black Hole: And Other Cosmic Quandaries again. It’s a collection of unrelated science essays for the general public, and as such, is easier to return to after a long break than, say, Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time, which really should be studied all together as the material is both difficult and related (and which I need to start over again because it’s been so long). A note on both Neil deGrasse Tyson and Stephen Hawking: yes, I know they are an agnostic and an atheist, respectively, and yes, I often find them arrogant. But I read them for their scientific expertise, and I find that the awe they hold for the universe alone, I can appropriate for myself and extend towards the Almighty.

As for fiction, I’m not sure what to read next. I read a lot of that this month. I just barely started Katherine Paterson’s Bridge to Terebithia, which I found in the home school coop library, and I already like the main character, but I may veer away from fiction this next month and read more science instead. Tyson’s book has got me interested in science again. Then again, I may not read much at all, what with my mom visiting. 🙂

 

BLOG POSTS

Feasting as an Act of War by Andrew Peterson. Everything I’ve been learning this year about the intersection of the physical and the spiritual, about sacrament, about communion, about celebration, it’s right here in this address. A must read!

Only Sympathy Makes it Real: Anyone Can Write by Joshua Gibbs. More on sacrament and the sacredness of all physical matter — as I mentioned above, it’s the type of stuff that’s been lighting me up this year. A long read. Also kind of a misleading title.

Binge-Watching with Boethius After Dark by Joshua Gibbs. Also long, but so very worth it. About desire and what really satisfies and what doesn’t, even though we keep searching for satisfaction in those places. Like Netflix. And potato chips. I was thinking and talking about these concepts for several days after I read it, which for me is always a good sign.

Our Now, but Not Yet Reality by Tyrel Bramwell. This one speaks my language. I’m all about the already and not yet. Some days it’s the only thing that gets me through the suffering I see all around me. And this post gives such a good word picture for it, too.

The Beauty in the Boom: Fiction and the Art of Paradox by Mark Guiney. Paradox — also speaking my language. Plus there’s a nerdy little science tidbit in there.

The Language of Desire by Patty Stallings. Patty gets the job done. Always. And as long as we are on the subject of other writers speaking my language, so is Patty! Desire and longing — for me they are pointers to God and His work in my life and in the world.

Light Heals by Kathy Escobar. I remember the feeling I had right before I told my future husband about my eating disorder. It felt so dark and scary. Now, of course, it’s not scary at all. It’s been brought into the light.

 

MUSIC

We Lift You High by Planetshakers. Don’t you just love this song, music and lyrics?

Who can save the lost
Who can heal all sickness
Who can make me new
No one else but Jesus
     
There’s no other name
There’s no other name
     
We lift You high, higher than all others
We lift You high, higher than all else
For great are You Lord and worthy of all the
Glory and honor and praise
     
Who can make me whole
Who can take all my sin
Who can cleanse this heart
No one else but Jesus
     
You are my God, The Great I am
And You are the rock on which I stand
And You reign, You reign O Lord
You reign, You reign
     –

You Hold It All Together by All Sons and Daughters on their new album Poets and Saints. Won’t get out of my head.

It feels like an ocean of sorrow is under my skin
Even the ocean eventually meets with the sand
Sorrow on sorrow, I’m waiting
Heavy I’m anticipating
Trusting the current, will carry me

You are my strength
You are my song
You are my salvation
You hold it all together
You hold it all together

We come with great expectations, and fears in our hearts
Send us Your light, as we’re making our way through the dark
All of the earlier troubles
Chaos and pain they unravel
Looking ahead we rejoice in You

Rest in You, also by All Sons and Daughters on Poets and Saints.

Who is Lord, but our Lord
Who is God, only God
You are the highest
You are most good

Matchless is Your love
Our praise will rise above
Your peace like a river
Floods over us

Our hearts are restless
Until they find rest in You
Our hearts are restless
Until they find rest in You

This is where my hope lies
This is where my souls sighs
I will always find my rest in You

So full of mercy
Beauty and mystery
You are most hidden
But always with us

You cannot change
Yet You change everything
You cannot change
Yet You change everything

(You can watch an explanation of their album here.)

 

PODCASTS AND VIDEOS

We Belong to Each Other — Idelette McVicker. A beautiful two-minute story that teaches some of the same truths that Henri Nouwen teaches in Life of the Beloved. Plus, you get to learn a South African phrase.

A conversation with Andrew Peterson at The Gathering 2015. I went poking around for Andrew Peterson videos after finishing the Wingfeather Saga. This interview has bits about Eden, longing, community, and even fearing your artistic ability has been lost forever when you go to work on something new.

He Gave Us Stories by Andrew Peterson. Yep, you guessed it, more AP.

 

SCRIPTURE THAT STUCK WITH ME

Psalm 87:5-6:

Regarding Jerusalem it will be said,
“Everyone enjoys the rights of citizenship there.”
And the Most High will personally bless this city.
When the Lord registers the nations, he will say,
“They have all become citizens of Jerusalem.” 

Psalm 27:8:

My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.”
And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.”

Proverbs 20:12:

Ears to hear and eyes to see —
both are gifts from the Lord.

Proverbs 20:27:

The Lord’s light penetrates the human spirit, 
exposing every hidden motive.

11 thoughts on “A Few of My Favorite Things {October 2016}

  1. I really enjoyed this, especially your thoughtful book reviews. You made me (again) want to read the blue parakeet which is one of those books I feel I should have read… I’m dying to know what the ‘other’ book was though, that didn’t help so much!! Don’t know what your theology on women is, but if you like egalitarian theol, Carolyn Custis James reminds me of Scott McKnight – the same infectious passion for teaching God’s word well.

    And re the body – have you read Tara M Owens’ Embracing the Body? It’s brilliant. Intelligent, biblical, elegantly-crafted writing and digs really deep, both emotionally and theologically, into our subconscious attitudes to our body. All my friends who’ve read it have said it’s a game-changer.

    Hoping you get to work out a sustainable rhythm soon!

    • Glad you liked the post — it’s always fun when someone does 🙂

      I have not read Tara Owens’ “Embracing the Body,” but I have loaded it onto my kindle, so it’s on my list of books to read . . . eventually!

      And yes, I’m into egalitarian theology 🙂 I’ve read just a teeny bit of Carolyn Custis James — some of “Half the Church,” but I’m not sure it was the theological basis I was looking for at the time. Maybe I should look into some of her other work now. . . . I do like Kristen Rosser’s blog at Wordgazer’s Words. Have you heard of her? Her stuff is really well-thought through. At least, I think so! http://krwordgazer.blogspot.com/

      Thanks again for the comment!

    • Hey! I’m back 🙂 So excited Brad’s words interest you! Would love to chat more about it now 🙂

      Let me tell you the background of that quote first. In his presentations he talks about the true physically addictive power of screens. He goes through the science of addiction and explains how the “pleasure center” works. The three main areas of addiction are Pornography, Gaming, and Social Media. Brain scans show they have actual physical effects, making us dependent upon the screens in the same way a drug addict is dependent upon cocaine (except for the porn addiction, which is so strong it is like a combo of heroine and cocaine — very very strong and very difficult to overcome).

      So he goes through the addiction science and talks about how we are parents are dependent on our screens ourselves, and dependent on our screens to “babysit” our children. It’s so easy to just hand them a screen, let them play an “educational” video game, or let them play completely non-educational video games and not even monitor the levels of violence and sex.

      That was the context of the “falling in love with parenting” bit. It was the part that made me audibly sigh. It was like God was tugging at my heart with those words. All Brad’s material was good, and I really, really appreciated the science. I’m a scientist at heart, so I really like knowing the evidence — plus, knowing the science makes it much much easier for me to make better decisions regarding technology. I had known for months that something was “off” in my use of technology specifically wasting time scrolling on social media, but also my tendency to avoid pain/depression/emptiness/dealing with the actual stressors in my life by shutting myself in my bedroom to read a blog or listen to a podcast, which seems like a good use of time, but can also be mindless, and I emerge feeling just as empty as when I entered.

      But anyway, as much as I appreciated the science, it was that one statement that I felt got at the heart of what was going on with me, and probably what is going on with others. It’s so easy to check out and disengage from my children when I am under stress (and that stress doesn’t have to be caused by them!). That was the call of God right there. And the thing is, I know that what actually fills me IS time with my family. Sometimes taking care of everyone and everything is draining, yes, but I have to remember that the FUN times we have, they actually fill me to the brim. Teaching lessons and cooking and cleaning and shopping and ferrying people around takes energy, but hanging out with them because I love them, it renews my energy. (Well, certain kinds of hanging out. My husband likes to do the big physical things like going diving and rock climbing, etc etc. I prefer sitting around reading books and talking. But my point is, I do actually enjoy parenting, when I’m purposeful to engage.

      Am I making sense? I don’t know if this is an issue for other parents the way it is for me.

      But back to Brad. He said the easiest way to tell if you or your child is addicted is to look for signs of anger and stress at the prospect of not having the screens. People addicted to the games get explosively angry if the power cord gets pulled out at the height of their game. People with smart phones get anxious when they’re not near their phone or don’t have internet access. What is our internal reaction to being without our beloved technologies? And sometimes we just let our kids have the screens because it prevents meltdowns and major fights.

      (I’m going to publish this now and finish in another comment.)

      • Brad also went into how the porn is so much more powerful than other screen addictions, and the nature of addiction means the porn has to get darker and darker in order for the brain to receive the same positive effects. That was very depressing to me, as I’ve seen the stats for expat Christian men in our city. I know about half the men are addicted to porn and about 10% admitted in an anonymous survey to having seen a prostitute/intimate massage. So I know the dads are struggling, and the data Brad has says that nearly 100% of 16 year old boys are addicted to porn (that data was from Australia I think). It was scary to me, because I know what marriage is like WITHOUT porn. By the grace of God, he has never been addicted or ever been tempted, really, so I know the intimacy two people can share when that’s not in the way. Because the research shows porn DOES get in the way of relationships. And so to think of all the young men growing up, unable to have true relationships with their wives, or the many men, including missionaries, who are addicted and unable to connect with their wives on all levels, just makes me so sad. I was literally sad for a week afterwards, whenever I thought about that aspect of the presentation.

        So that’s kind of a side conversation, but important for our marriages and the future of our sons and our daughters and our sons’ and daughters’ marriages. Girls can be addicted too, but even if they aren’t, the research shows they are AFFECTED by the guys’ porn habits, and the things the guys ask the girls to do are NOT normative sexual behavior, and they sometimes have tragic physical consequences for the girls (as well as teaching them things that really aren’t healthy are in fact normal). I won’t go into anymore detail here on the blog, because it gets very disturbing (and Brad said it wasn’t even all the info he has on the subject) but that’s the main idea.

        There’s also a problem with our concentration, the way we toggle screens. We’ve actually taught our brains NOT to concentrate for long periods of time, and teens now toggle back and forth from 2 minutes of math to 30 minutes of social media, etc. Their ability to focus is falling, and their grades are falling. I myself have noticed a difference in my concentration ability over the last few years. It’s really fallen. So I know the truth of what he’s saying. (It’s based on the fact that brains, like computers, can only do one thing at a time. Human or machine, we really can’t multitask. We are merely switch-tasking. It’s a whole ‘nother subject though.)

        He went into the fact that we really should be reading real books (I’m not sure that’s true of the old black and white, non-lighted traditional Kindles like the one I have) instead of books or articles on screens. He said the research shows that any screen time is bad for the brain — the brain doesn’t distinguish between educational games and non-educational games. In Korea they’ve had major addiction problems and one of the solutions to the internet research problem is to have an adult monitor the child while they PRINT out the articles they need and take them back to their rooms. As long as the info that was on the internet is in print form, it doesn’t mess with the brain. Because apparently our brains can only function well on 20% digital input and 80% analog, but these days we reverse it and have 80% digital. That’s not how God made us to live.

        (Of course, living overseas does make some of these issues harder to avoid. It’s expensive and difficult to print things, for example. It’s harder to get real books. School sometimes must be done on computers. Things like that.)

        The problem with the addictions is that they cause “anhedonia,” inability to feel any pleasure (source: Archibald Hart, a South African Christian psychologist). (And by pleasure we don’t just mean sexual, we mean any kind of good feeling like eating good food, sharing laughter, hugs, exercise endorphins, etc etc.) Used to be, psychologists only saw anhedonia in cases of schizophenia, major depression, and drug addition. They are now seeing it in screen addiction too.

        He said he believes the “pleasure center” is also where we physically experience intimacy with God. The early morning mystery, those times we feel God’s presence so close, when His word speaks to us and satisfies us in the deepest ways, he believes that the pleasure center is where we receive that. And he says if we build thick walls around our pleasure center (that’s what happens in addiction, and why it takes more and more stimulus to achieve the same highs), then it’s literally like we turn off the voice of God. It’s like we shut Him out of our brains. Instead of “praying without ceasing” we are now “screening without ceasing.”

        I don’t have a smart phone, so I don’t experience this quite as fully as some people, and I actually have learned to enjoy times away from the screen, but I know it can be a rabbit hole as soon as I open my laptop. We’re now using the Freedom app to help us cut out websites like social media whenever we have to do blog writing. Both my husband and I wanted some help in that area.

        He said screens crush creativity, and creativity is part of our image-bearing nature.

        He said teens need a lot more sleep than they are getting, and that the screens need to come out of the bedroom for that reason. Also, that it takes 2-3 hours for the chemicals in the blood to dissipate after using screens. So if you use it before bed, you don’t get into the deep restorative sleep for at least that long (he had data and graphs for that).

        Anyway, Brad also had some suggestions, even though some of them seemed a bit extreme. Wanna know? I’m probably not going to remember all of them, but here are some of them:

        1.) No screens in bedrooms. Ever. Buy a regular alarm clock.

        2.) No video games. Ever. Of any kind. Play board games together as a family instead. Real board games will NEVER cause problems. Also they facilitate family bonding — part of the “falling in love with parenting again.”

        3.) No screens during homework hours (to help with the concentration/toggling issue).

        4.) Give your kid a flip phone. They don’t actually need smart phones. (I liked that advice; I have a nearly-impervious-to-injury $20 dumb phone that’s 5 years old, and I love it. Why would I spend $$ on a smart phone for my kids??)

        5.) No instagram is allowed. Ever. I think that’s because it’s highly addictive in the social arena, but I also think I’ve heard bad things about teens and bullying on Instagram.

        These are the steps to healing and to STAYING healed. He said some people ask what the time period is when you can return to your old ways, and he says: NEVER. You have to continue to live this way, with reduced screen time, the rest of your life, if you want to really live an addiction-free life. And I, for one, certainly do want to live an addiction free life!

        Also the main problem with the screen is not the screen, it’s the content — social media, scrolling to get the next “high” or posting to get a number of likes, etc. Technology is not bad, we just have to use it well. And although all this data really is information overload, let me assure you in real life, his messages were so grace filled! He talked about repentance and turning to God and how God is not mad at you, He just wants intimacy with you. So don’t get the idea that he was harsh or strict, he wasn’t! And he said he’s had problems with it before too, he is not standing above anyone and judging them. He was just saying, we need to admit we have a problem.

        Ok, that’s probably enough for now right?!

        Drop me another comment if you want to keep talking 🙂

      • Yes- whoa. So much good stuff! And seriously convicting. The book Hands-free Mama has been coaching me in this direction, but it is so much work. Worthy work. And that we are effectually walling off our hearts to God and our people is staggering, true, inspiring. Thank you for taking the time to expound! Praying for all of us on this journey to live fully and be present.

      • You’re welcome on the expounding 🙂 I didn’t actually mean to go that long, I only meant to answer the parenting question, but then I kept remembering his material, and kept thinking it was important, so I kept going, ha!

        Yes — very sobering to think we are walling ourselves off from God. I think it’s true, and I appreciate the scientific evidence to support it.

        I haven’t read Hand-Free Mama — do tell 🙂

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