November 10, 2009

Mark Batterson wrote in his book “Wild Goose Chase” that Change of Pace + Change of Place = Change of Perspective.

Nothing could be truer. (is that a word?)…

So anyway, I’m back from Dubai – after an incredibly busy and rich 12 days.  I’m trying to work through the implications of yet another overseas trip and how seeing what I have seen has changed and needs to change my perspective.  I can’t say I’ve gotten in all, but here’s a short list:

1.) Dubai is a land of STARK contrasts.  Opulence and slavery exist side-by-side. A do-anything Vegas feel is ensconced in Muslim undertones. The old souks are minutes away from the largest mall in the world.  So what in my life is is discordant?  Do i say one thing and do another? Believe one thing and live a different way?  It’s time to lessen the distance between who I want to be and who I am on as many levels as possible.

2.) Dubai as we know it – the crazy buildings, palm islands, etc were essentially built in 7 years.  SEVEN years.  My heart is for people: to see everyone in my reach moving towards freedom and life.  I am passionate about reaching people, especially young men, who have been sexually abused.  I think sex, sexuality, and intimacy are the parts of us that most need the Gospel and power of Jesus.  It seems insurmountable, but is it? If a group of people can take “impossible” out of their dictionary to simply construct buildings and islands, I think I can move forward with bringing the imagination of my heart to reality.  They did what they did in seven years in inspiring and challenging.  I have no excuses.

I get overwhelmed sometimes: because the things that I want to do seem larger than life – and they are actually.  And I know me.  I know my limitations and my inconsistencies.  But, I’m learning that God knows them to.  And that I’m designed to fold into this Gospel, that through death, there is resurrection.  I’m compelled by a Gospel that does not say “well done good and successful” but “well done good and FAITHFUL”…I may not be able to swing one over the fence in the bottom of the 9th with bases loaded,  but I can keep getting up to bat and trust the rest to God.

Thanks Dubai…I needed that


a Dubai kind of grateful

October 28, 2009

IMG00358i couldn’t be more excited about heading to Dubai today. Feel free to have passport envy…

I’m grateful for school and education and the technology of planes that enables us to explore the world!

I’m grateful that I get to be a part of a community where 120 different personalities, cultures, minds, and hearts engage each other.

I’m thankful for those little plane pillows – and sleeping pills!

I’m grateful for home; that life here continues while I’m not in it and that I live in a place with people that I can celebrate coming back to.

I’m grateful that I get to write a new story and be part of a greater one being written.

I’m grateful for coffee…and to-do lists.

I’m thankful that I’m healthy enough, physically spiritually emotionally and mentally to pursue knowledge and adventure.

I’m grateful for mexican food and prayers in my car after it with a forever friend.

I’m grateful for Psalm 139 that says “suppose…i flew to the other side of the ocean. even there Your hand will guide me, Your strong arm will protect me…”  My hope, no matter my location on the globe, is in Jesus Christ. I am more in love with God than I have ever been.

God, show me what You see. Teach me what You know. Enable me to love how You love. be present. be real. be Savior.


October 5, 2009

Part of b-school, involves electing people into leadership positions.  After peer nominations last week, I discovered I got nods for both class representative and judicial board.  It’s funny how things strike up a memory.

I spent most of school just wanting to be popular.  The right friends, looks, boyfriend, parties, etc – I dissected what it would take to get “there” and was pretty surprised at how easily I did.

Until Lenny.

My thesis advisor, Lenny, was everyone’s favorite professor.  I was his favorite student.  I argued with almost everything he said.  I despised his arrogance but enjoyed his wit.  He challenged me right back.  I’ll never forget the day, sitting in his office discussing politics, society, and media, when he curtly said, “You’re a Christian? I thought you were smarter than that.”  For 3 hours he interrogated every tenant of my faith.  I left exhausted, but with an untouchable confidence about how I know what I know is true.

It was in that same office on January 26, 2001 that I nervously sat as he delivered a soliloquy as to why one comment had flirted with a serious honor code violation.  After a month of deliberation, he decided the circumstances were an error in judgment, and, according to the honor code, he would use the opportunity educate me.

Oh, he educated me that day.

I was at the height of my popularity.  School was easy; life was fun; people were disposable.  His anger didn’t make any sense.  I told him it was a misunderstanding, a joke.  He wasn’t laughing.  He stared until we locked eyes – he needed to know I heard this.  “I’m dropping your thesis.”  WHAT? I was pissed but quickly went into damage control mode – spouting my best sales pitch(es) to change his mind.

He wasn’t budging.  I was shocked, and genuinely upset, and still talking.

After a good half-hour, he stopped me.  “I’m not upset about a passing comment, I’m disappointed in you.”  Wow, thanks for clearing that up.

He went on, “it is remarkable that at no point did you ever consider how your actions would impact another person, let alone me.  The position it put me in didn’t even cross your mind.”  Now I was just lost.

I think the blank stare on my face pissed him of more.

He went on, “Let me say it as clearly as I know how: the world is not your stage, and you are not the center player.”

Really? That’s actually exactly the way I thought the world worked.  What do you mean I don’t control the moving parts of my life? Are you suggesting I can’t manipulate people into loving me and doing what I want?  No, I thought, you don’t understand how this works – if I can only be pretty, smart, and charming enough – people will have to love me and do what I want.

It’s terrifying to think how genuinely I believed that.  That lie has taken a lot of people out.

He saw something I couldn’t.  He saw the effects of a life absent any boundaries or guidance.  He saw a girl who wondered whether anyone could actually love her if they really knew who she was.  He saw through the thin veneer of notoriety to the need – the kind that is only satisfied by a Savior.

And he had a choice; he could ruin me for sport or ruin me to build something better.  We often get that choice in other people’s lives.  He went on to tell me about how love isn’t love if it’s manipulated.  He said that, if I needed a person in the wrong sense, I’d lose them. And if I couldn’t be selfless, I would never be fully alive.  He was right.  I didn’t understand the implications of those statements – of the gift he was handing me; but, I trusted him enough to let doubt be introduced.  And the trajectory of my life literally changed that day.

I don’t know why an email reminded me of that day with Lenny.  Maybe just the thought of an honor code proceeding took me back – but I’m glad it did.  How many moments do we get to realize we are different?  It didn’t happen that day, it has happened over 9 years and is still happening.  The how and the why are beautiful stories – about God, not about me.  But in all, I’m made of something now that I wasn’t then and for a moment today, I felt the difference between two versions of myself.  And this one feels pretty damn good.

piecign it togehter

September 23, 2009

During an impossibly normal series of conversations, I happened on to the fact that I’m dyslexic. I’m 30, a college graduate (from a top 30 school), a successful executive, and I just found out I’m dyslexic. Far from life changing, this news is a bit of a relief.

Before starting grad school this fall, I put forward an honest confession to a set of borrowed parents about how stupid I really felt most of the time in school. I had deep, deep fears that I might not be able to cut it at such a prestigious new university (Duke!).

Dyslexia, at that point, had not even entered my mind as a possibility.

Stereotyped by most as a number or letter reversal disorder (which is part of it), dyslexia is really a sequencing problem – and since most of our letters and numbers are sequenced, reading and math present huge challenges. History is sequenced. Accounting is sequenced. Time is sequenced. So the confusion that stems from this beast is pervasive in a person’s life.

The most common set of symptoms or manifestations is called the 37 signs of dyslexia (Google away).

I strongly exhibit 26 of them.

I’ve had a couple days to digest this new bit of information, because really that is all it is. Dyslexia is considered by many to be a gift. Dyslexic kids, confused and unable to ascertain information, who have even the smallest measure of gumption, develop extraordinary compensatory measures to cope. These range from relational skills, high verbal ability, negotiation prowess, imagination, strategic thinking, story telling, and more.

I am no exception.

What really strikes me, as I piece together the nature of the disorder and my life experiences, is how staggering the effect of it is.

There are SO many events and circumstances I can easily point to, knowing my action(s) or reaction(s), can be traced back to the dyslexia. Those events and circumstances ultimately shaped some really good, powerful things in me.

And that means there are things that can massively shape our personality, our history, and our capacity – yet we may not even know they exist.

So what else do I not know? And do I even need to know it? This thing, having a name is such a relief, but it changes nothing in terms of my capacity.

Why does having a name make something such a relief?

Do we fight insecurity with fact?

Can we silence demons with a definition?

What is so freeing about knowing that I am inherently broken?


August 4, 2009

people usually ask what I want to do after my MBA…and i think it’s a dumb question.

The reality is that what we DO is an expression of who we ARE – so i tend to focus on becoming the person I want to become.  One who values people, choice, is free, is gracious, is humble, is relationally healthy, is emotionally strong, has a high capacity, a conviction to live at the highest level, continue learning, and maintains a spirit of excellence…

I want to be the kind of person who acts on behalf of people who are unable to act on their own behalf in a way that provides them greater freedom to make choices. 

          So, to do that, I’d have to i.) love people and ii.) have resource. 

I hope my experience at Duke, coupled with full-time work and normal “life” will present me with a gauntlet of opportunities to raise my game and go to another level – and shape me into more of the person I hope to be…

and the work will fall into place