Why I Think Jesus Would Be On Facebook

Jesus didn't say, "Connect with me on my terms." Instead His life expressed, "Wherever you are, I will come to you." Because that's what love does. #CoffeeForYourHeart http://HolleyGerth.com

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I’m a bit of a research junkie when it comes to what helps women thrive. And after reading what seems like hundreds of books and studies, this much has become clear: relationships are crucial to our well-being. We truly are made for “one another” lives.

Over the last few years, I’ve felt a twinge of guilt here and there that so much of my community comes from online sources. Through blogs and social media I’ve met true heart sisters, made lasting friendships and found support for my work as a writer. But in the back of my mind I’ve wondered, “Is this really good for me?” And I’ve even had a few people in my life make comments about how online connections aren’t as meaningful as “real” relationships.

In fact, a group of researchers set out to prove that’s true. They did a study on social media habits expecting to find that the more someone cultivated virtual connections the more they would be negatively affected. It turns out the opposite is true. Women who are high-volume social media users actually have less stress, feel more connected to others and have better well-being overall.

Huh.

I’m typing this in a local coffee shop and the table of four ladies across from me just bowed their heads to pray. And suddenly, I understand–Jesus is the Word and the Spirit is virtual. That means what matters is not how we connect but instead WHO is connecting us. We serve a God who brings us together in deeper ways than what can be defined for geography or proximity. He forms bonds between our hearts and souls that transcend the factual details of our lives. And I can testify firsthand that can happen virtually or face-to-face.

Maybe it’s time to stop trying to decide if one way of connecting is better than another. And instead just focusing on making those happen however we can. There will be seasons of our lives where our relationships may get a lot of in-person, up-close time. And there will be others when our computer screen or smartphone may serve as a door to a room full of the people we truly love. In today’s world, it’s even more likely that we’ll experience a mixture of both.

So let’s chat on phones. And click on computers. And share our hearts over coffee. Whatever it takes to find and keep community. 

If Jesus were on earth today I think He would be on Facebook. Why? Because that’s where people are. If Facebook were a country, it would be the third largest in the world. If someone prayerfully and intentionally chooses not to be on social media, I respect that choice. What breaks my heart is when I see folks stand back and criticize those of us who are called to the online space. Please don’t do that: We are like missionaries in a foreign culture. Pray for us like you would someone who is going to Africa even if you know you’re not called to go.

Jesus clearly showed us we’re to do whatever it takes to reach the people we care about–even if it means stepping outside our comfort zones. He didn’t say, “Connect with me on my terms.” He said, “Wherever you are, I will come to you.”

The table of women across from me who prayed earlier just started talking about using Facebook. {Seriously–I can’t make up this timing.} A couple of them are on there and some of the others aren’t. But they all agree on this: the only reason worth doing it is relationships. To say it another way: love. Isn’t that the only worthwhile reason for doing anything? 

We have been sought out by the God of love. And now it’s our turn. Who is God asking you to love today and where can you find them? Your answer to that question is your mission field.

Do whatever it takes to be there.

XOXO

Holley Gerth

 

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Welcome to the Coffee for Your Heart weekly link-up! You’re an encourager so I’m asking you to pour out a little love with your words every Wednesday {link-up goes live at 5:30am CST}. Simply write an encouraging blog post and then share it here. Don’t have a blog? You can still write an encouraging comment. If you’re reading this by email, go to holleygerth.com to see all the fun and join in too.

Pretty please use this button in your blog post so others can easily join in with us {html code in right sidebar}. And when you link up your post, take a moment to leave an encouraging comment on the one that’s linked up just before yours. Thanks, friends!

 

I’m having Coffee For Your Heart with my friend Holley Gerth

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Good News for a Monday: Your Worth Doesn’t Come from Your Work

The God who created you is the One who will help you respond with all your heart, soul, mind and strength to that question and He'll use your answer to make a difference in and through you all the days of your life. Your worth doesn't come from your work. http://holleygerth.com

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We can be a career-obsessed culture. Stand around long enough at any gathering where you don’t know everyone and you’ll be asked, “So, what do you do?” Frequently it’s even the first question posed when meeting someone. {In case you didn’t know, this is oddly American. Most other cultures don’t start with your job. They start with who you are. Your family. Your friends. What you love.}

Maybe that’s one reason why it’s so easy to fall into the trap of believing what we do equals who we are. We define ourselves by titles {manager, artist, stay-home-mom} and by the roles that go with them {employee, Etsy shop owner, mother}. Then when something changes {the company closes, the art doesn’t sell, the kids grow up} we despair.

“Who am I now?” we ask.

We also experience a lot of fear if it even seems like that might happen.

“Who would I be without this?” we question.

I thought about this as I drove home the other day from a writing session at a coffee shop. I have a deadline coming up and it’s scaring me silly. Because I’m afraid if I fail then I might have to stop writing and without writing it feels like I might not know who I am.

I whispered a prayer for help and one simple statement flashed into my mind: What you do is not your identity. It’s your assignment.

Oh.

I knew that but somehow it got buried under stacks of “what ifs” and worries. Immediately I could feel my shoulders relax and I let out a big sigh of relief. Because I remembered this too: As long as I’m on earth God will find a way for me to be useful. I saw that in the life of my 93 year-old Grandpa who went home to heaven last summer. I see it in women like Barbara Beskind, a 90 year-old designer for the tech company Ideo. I watch it in the lives of others around me who continue to contribute despite significant alterations in their circumstances.

We usually have one what but over a lifetime the how will change a lot. For example, one woman’s “what” might be encouraging. She might primarily do that for friends in high school, for her team at work in her twenties, for her kids as a mom in her thirties, for her Bible study for her church in her forties, for her classmates when she goes back to school in her fifties, for her employees in her sixties, for her neighbors in her seventies…and so on until God decides it’s time for her to go Home.

None of those are about a job or career…even if they involve a business or specific title. 

Our culture may be work-focused but thankfully God isn’t.

He isn’t like that stranger at a party asking, “So, what do you do?”

Instead He’s posing a far more important question, “Who have I made you?”

The God who created you is the One who will help you respond with all your heart, soul, mind and strength to that question and He’ll use your answer to make a difference in and through you all the days of your life.

XOXO

Holley Gerth

*****

P.S. If you live in the Northeast and are looking for a retreat this Spring, I’d love to see you at The Winsome Retreat… Will you be there? Find all the information here.

*****

Books to encourage you…

Books by Holley Gerth
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Making the Most of Who You Are {Especially the Parts You Don’t Like}

Redemption doesn't mean getting rid of who we are; it means transforming everything about us to be more like Jesus. http://holleygerth.com

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Last night driving home my heartbeat was tap-tap-tapping against my chest like a crazed woodpecker. I rolled my eyes and thought, “Hello, anxiety, my old friend.”

And the truth is, anxiety is a long-time companion of mine. As a child it gave me inexplicable stomach aches. The doctors ran tests and finally chalked it up to stress. I used to hide out in the bathroom because being alone and quiet made my anxiety better. I have two small dimples on the inside of my cheeks where I’ve bitten down on them for years when I get nervous. I sweat when I have intense conversations–positive or negative. I own several books on social anxiety. Yep. 

Those who know me personally would probably be surprised to hear me say all of this. I sometimes get told, “You seem so calm and like you’ve got it all together.” That always makes me want to burst into laughter (or tears) and never ceases to shock the living daylights out of me.

Through the years my anxiety has gotten a lot better. And, recently, I’ve begun to even see it as an essential part of who I am.

My anxiety may make it hard to walk into a party sometimes…but it also tunes me into everyone there. I’ve got an emotional thermometer inside me that detects even the slightest shift in mood. That makes me sensitive. It helps me write and counsel. If a big part of anxiety is really just our bodies being in “alert” mode, then I would miss a lot if I never struggled with it.

I’m starting to see that my strengths are very closely tied to what I might label as “weaknesses.” For example, sensitivity = strength, anxiety = weakness. But I wouldn’t have one without ever having the other. Perhaps it’s really just about focusing on the parts that are helpful and letting the other stuff go.

Scripture says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” {Php. 4:6}. To me that means I’m not supposed to let anxiety win. I’m to hand it over to God and say, “Please take care of this and turn it into something useful.” In other words, redeem this part of me I wish were different.

This has been on my mind a lot lately, and I can’t help thinking that one of you needs to hear it. So if it’s you, then know that the thing you keep asking God to remove may actually be beautiful in His sight and a part of His plan when you offer it to Him. Redemption doesn’t mean getting rid of who we are; it means transforming everything about us to be more like Jesus.

You really are wonderfully made…all of you.

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What’s true about who we are in Christ no matter how we may feel? “Today I am…{loved, free, forgiven, etc.}”?

P.S. Did you hear about Bonnie Gray’s Spiritual Whitespace {Face}Book Club? It began yesterday and is a welcoming space to breathe and simply be wonderful you. Find out more here.

****

XOXO

Holley Gerth

 

Books to encourage you…

Books by Holley Gerth
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Secret to Living Intentionally: Make Sure You’re NOT Great at Everything

Psst.. You don't have to do it all or even be it all. It's okay to eliminate doing the things that aren't your calling or mission. Live intentionally, friend. via http://holleygerth.com

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I lay the plate on the table with a flourish. I can hardly wait for my husband to take the first bite. After all, Pad Thai is one of his favorite dishes and I’m so proud of myself for making it at home. He chews and then looks at me with a question mark in his eyes. I know he’s searching for diplomatic words to express what I’m thinking too. I decide to take the poor man out of his misery and admit with a sigh, “It’s not great…it’s just okay.”

When we were first married this meal would have put me into a fit of tears. I would have felt like a failure as a wife and woman. But this evening I laugh a little and add, “Well, I just won’t make it again. We can eat Pad Thai at our favorite restaurants guilt-free because I can’t make it like they do.” My sweet husband just pats my hand and smiles.

As we put away leftovers {LOTS of leftovers} I started thinking about how we all have times in our lives. We try to do something. We think we’ll love it. We may even believe we’ll be great at it. But the moment of reckoning comes and it’s just…okay.

Our society tends to tell us to try to fix the situation by trying harder. But that would be like me saying, “Honey, don’t worry–I’m going to practice my Pad Thai every single night. We won’t eat anything else until it’s perfect.”  That would be crazy talk. And yet we spend years in jobs we don’t love. Shed frustrated tears over tasks that don’t even have to be done. And try to prove ourselves through becoming “good” at things that seem to matter to everyone else when we could care less.

Let’s end the madness. What can we do instead?

If we have something turn out to be “just okay” then it’s time to explore other options…

1) We can ask ourselves: Does this have to be done? For example, I can make zillions of other recipes. I can feed my family just fine without ever making Pad Thai again. If that’s the case, I can {and probably should} simply stop making it. {Hint: If I don’t have to do it, I don’t love it, and I continue to do it anyway then it might be because I want to redeem my hurt pride.}

2) Then we can ask: If it doesn’t have to be done do I still want it to be done?  With the Pad Thai the answer would be, “Yes, we really like this meal and would miss it if we never had it again.”

3) After we determine what’s above we can ask: Then how can it get done? Here are some possible answers…

You can find someone else to do it for you. From now on, my husband and I will happily go to our favorite Thai restaurant on date night. They are amazing at it and one of the secrets of life is being humble enough to say, “Someone else is much better at that than me so I’m going to let them do it.”

You can make peace with you still doing it and it just being okay. Here’s the reality: we can only be really good at a handful of things. Sometimes saying, “good enough” is the best response.

If this is something you are truly, deeply passionate about and are determined to get better at then it’s time to ask for help. For example, I could take a Thai cooking class.

My recommendation as a counselor and life coach to most clients in most situations would be: find a way to let the Pad Thai go. Here’s why: you will spend time, energy and emotion to get better at something that will probably never be more than a step above “okay” anyway. And by doing so, you risk dragging down the things you are truly great at to being “just okay” as well. Researcher Marcus Buckingham did a study with thousands of women and he found that well-being is not usually taken by outright destruction–it’s slowly stolen by distraction.

Stop trying to have a perfectly clean house and instead appreciate that you’re a wonderful mom.

Delegate that excruciating task at work you’re holding onto and instead take on the project that excites you. 

Get off the decorating committee for the women’s ministry and get on the greeter list–even if your mother-in-law doesn’t approve.

You have gifts, strengths and talents only you can offer to this world. Ruthlessly eliminate, delegate or make peace with “good enough” when it comes to everything that’s not at the core of God’s purpose for you.

You have so much to bring to the table, my friend…

And it doesn’t have to be Pad Thai.

*****

What helps you live intentionally? Share your thoughts on facebook.

*****

XOXO

Holley Gerth

P.S. You were created to change the world! Come visit me today over at God-sized Dreams?

 

Books to encourage you…

Books by Holley Gerth
Would you like to subscribe by email?

****

Welcome to the Coffee for Your Heart weekly link-up! You’re an encourager so I’m asking you to pour out a little love with your words every Wednesday {link-up goes live at 5:30am CST}. Simply write an encouraging blog post and then share it here. Don’t have a blog? You can still write an encouraging comment. If you’re reading this by email, go to holleygerth.com to see all the fun and join in too.

Pretty please use this button in your blog post so others can easily join in with us {html code in right sidebar}. And when you link up your post, take a moment to leave an encouraging comment on the one that’s linked up just before yours. Thanks, friends!

 

I’m having Coffee For Your Heart with my friend Holley Gerth

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A New Place to Find Words that Will Encourage You

I believe in the power of words. To heal. To help. To encourage our hearts. To change our lives. Maybe that’s why when I go to someone’s house, I always love sneaking a peek at what’s on their bookshelves {you too?}. And it’s the reason I’m creating a new spot called my bookshelf in the little bookshop I started in honor of my grandparents.

31 Days of Prayer for the Dreamer and Doer

A book I’ve just added to my shelf that I think will encourage you as you start a new year is 31 Days of Prayer for the Dreamer and Doer. Creators Jenn Sprinkle and Kelly Rucker describe it this way:

The prayers, scripture and questions that fill these pages are written to accompany you on the journey of brilliant dreams and scary risks, weary struggles and joyful success, inspiring ideas and fears of failure….all in light of how God has created you to be and to do all things well….not perfectly, but {well}.

I’ve written, spoken and coached women about God-sized dreams for years. And here’s what I’ve learned: the journey to your dream is always harder, lonelier and longer than you think it will be. You would never set out on a hike without taking water with you. And that’s what 31 Days of Prayer for the Dreamer and Doer is — the refreshment your soul needs to keep going.

The book is a compilation of prayers from women who are on the journey to their dreams, too. You’ll recognize many of their names and others will be new to you. Their words will help you feel understood and remind you that you’re not the only one who faces struggles, fears and obstacles. We’re all in this together.

I believe every woman has dreams, desires and hopes deep inside her. Yes, even if you have never called yourself a “dreamer.” Sometimes we just get a little lost along the way and need help getting back to where we belong and moving forward in God’s plans for us. What better time to make those changes than the start of a new year?

I’m cheering you on as you start a new year — and all your sisters in 31 Days of Prayer for the Dreamer and Doer will too.

*****

What’s a book on your shelf right now? Share your answer on facebook.

*****

XOXO

Holley Gerth

31 Days of Prayer for the Dreamer & Doer Quote

Comparison is the paralyzer of dreams. Your calling, your purpose, and your dreams are yours. Hold on to them tight, because the enemy is going to try and steal them by convincing you they are not as worthy or valuable as someone else’s.

– 31 Days of Prayer for the Dreamer and Doer

Read a free Sample of 31 Days of Prayer for The Dreamer and Doer

Book and Prayer Journal Set

Find 31 Days of Prayer for the Dreamer and Doer on My Bookshelf