Brené Brown is my new academic crush. She’s probably the one that uses the least “academic speak” of any of the brainy types I follow. She has this amazing knack for balancing research with applications for day-to-day life, and explaining the “touchy feely” with a beautifully articulate honesty. One of the things that sold me on her was that she said “I think all of us have developed a healthy skepticism for bullshit in self-help books” (The Gifts of Imperfection). This is the kind of person I can get behind.
I was intrigued when I saw her Ted Talk on vulnerability and recognized how much of it rings true. In her book The Gifts of Imperfection, she proposes a weekly writing challenge. I can’t promise how often I’ll do this, and I’m going to be ok with myself if I don’t make the weekly goal. But I took another friend up on the “Three Good Things/Thanking God today” challenge on Facebook, kept it up for seven weeks, and was surprised on how many people said it was a blessing to them. Then I realized that facebook was becoming a black hole and I needed to escape. So, for those who enjoy “TGT,” please consider this your new home, and feel free to ignore my other thoughts as you see fit. Please also feel free to add your own 🙂
Here is Brown’s formula:
What I’m trusting: I’m trusting in Advent promises. I believe in the miracle of an incarnate God, and that there someday will be a time when “the lion will lie down with the lamb and a little child will lead them.”
What I’m grateful for: As many of you know, I took a leave of absence from my job for health reasons. I’m thankful that I will be able to return to my job, and for those who supported (and continue to support) me through the healing journey. I’m at least at the point where I can function more days than not. I’m immensely grateful for this time to heal, and for the recovery that’s happened over these past few months.
What inspires me: I am deeply inspired by the 7th grade girls that I mentor every week. Their enthusiasm, their insights, their honesty, their humor, their perpetual energy, their kindness, renew me. I love that middle schoolers jump from the silly to the profound, and rarely with any kind of transition. I look forward to our time together each week and believe that it’s an honor to be part of their lives.
How I’m practicing my faith: I believe and (sometimes) practice unceasing prayer. I’ve learned that if I don’t have daily centering time before I go to work, I’m cranky. But if I don’t carry any of this renewal and strength I find in my faith into the broken world we live in, then my centering becomes a self-indulgence. I don’t I often see if/how my faith is being lived into the world.
The nature of my job means I see hundreds of students every day, and rarely the same ones more than once. So when a student I ran into said she can’t wait until I come back to campus, I saw a glimpse of my faith in the world. I strive to help everyone I interact with know they are loved, and to deeply listen to them. This is my faith, and my prayer that I live this way. I don’t expect affirmation, but it’s nice all the same when it comes.
And friends, how is it with your life? How would you answer these questions? Fellow bloggers, I invite you to join me on this writing adventure and to post your blog links in the comments.