You don't have to pray.

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Chapter Five of Dance Stand Run is called "Teach Us How to Pray" and here's just a tiny snippet of it. Enjoy! 

You don't have to pray. Really, you don't have to. 

If you’ve believed that grace covers you and you don’t have to pray - I'm here to say something you might not expect. You don’t have to. But in Jesus’s name, you get to. Psalm 84:10 says that one day in the house of God is better than a thousand anywhere else. That’s some truth we can stand on, and the simplest way I can reiterate it is this: talking to God is better than talking to your sister, watching Netflix, drinking coffee, exercising, chocolate, sex, reading fiction, searching on Pinterest, or doing your makeup. It just is. Not because it’s good for you like going to the doctor is good for you. It’s good for you because your soul is hidden in Christ and most at home with the Spirit of God working on your behalf as you communicate with God your Father.

Talking to God is better than talking to your sister, watching Netflix, drinking coffee, exercising, chocolate, sex, reading fiction, searching on Pinterest, or doing your makeup.

Prayer is better for you than all those things because our God is the author of peace, comfort, love, truth, beauty, joy, abundance, grace, mercy, and life. Talking to God, just being in communication with Him, is where heaven invades earth and we experience a little of eternity in the midst of our everyday. And the craziest part? Because we’re walking suits of the Spirit, image bearers of an unseen God moving and living here on earth, we can talk to God while we do all those things! However, I still think it’s beneficial for us to have moments set aside wherein He gets our undivided attention, because why wouldn’t we want the love of God, unfiltered and uninterrupted? If you could have one-on-one time with your best friend, you’d take that over a quick catch-up while you’re doing your makeup, right?

Because we’re walking suits of the Spirit, image bearers of an unseen God moving and living here on earth, we can talk to God while we do all those things!

The argument that you might not have time to spend with God is just a little silly, because you have your entire day. Talk to Him while you’re driving your kids around. Talk to Him while you’re in the shower or using the bathroom. Get chatty with the King of Kings while you’re walking the dog or doing the dishes, and cry out to your Father while you’re putting on your blush or sorting through the mail. This is our holy and divine right as daughters of God, and it is not something we have to do; it’s what we get to do. It’s enjoyable. It’s fun. It’s literally life giving.

And here's my really super spiritual last line on prayer: try it, you'll like it. 

I know it doesn’t feel simple. I know you might have preconceived notions about what will happen. I understand that it might seem crazy to walk around the block and talk out loud to someone you can’t see. It seems totally fair that you might have negative feelings about prayer, God as a Father, and the act of humbling yourself.

But sweet friends, I’m begging you to try it. Not so you’ll be better, not so you’ll be a tidier Christian, not so we’ll all be on the same page. I’m begging you to try prayer, to stretch the limits of your relationship with Jesus, because I believe you will be happier. I think you’ll feel more at peace. I believe you will experience more of the spiritual fruit that has already been purchased for you, simply by placing your faith in an unseen relationship and acting on it. My friends, whatever camp you’re in, I’m saying that to dance, stand, and run in our beautiful faith looks like prayer. It looks like talking to God with the expectation that He hears us. And I don’t think we should do it, I think we get to do it. So let’s. 

 

 

Five Ways to Speak Life . . . RIGHT NOW.

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Ok, let's say you're in. You're ready to change the conversation and step into the God-Inspired moves of a woman on holy ground. One of those things? That we GET to do? Is speak life. 

There's an entire chapter in Dance Stand Run on speaking life and honestly - I'll feel like it's one of the quickest ways to agree with the holiness God has written over our lives. Here are five ways to speak life TODAY, right where you're at. 

1. Tell someone they're the girl/guy for the job. We talk about this a good bit in Dance Stand Run, but it's essentially saying this: we believe God is sovereign and He's placed you where He's placed you on purpose. What's more: this statements insists that He'll give you what you need for whatever He's called you to. Don't overthink it, and do share it. Husband is feeling stressed at work? Remind him he's the guy for the job. Your friend feels overwhelmed with her new baby: she's the girl fro the job. Try it, they'll be blessed! 

2. Give them a good greeting. Have you ever noticed in the New Testament letters how important greetings were? Paul and other writers would take multiple verses just to say "HEY! I SEE YOU THERE! SO PROUD OF YOU! GOD LOVES YOU AND HE CHOSE YOU!". Why? Because they could give hard news or correction or weighty updates after a good greeting. A good greeting changes everything. Think about how you want to greet people as you see them today - hurried? Rushed? Distracted? Worried? or thoughtful? Cheery? Loving? Hopeful? 

Think about how you want to greet people as you see them today - hurried? Rushed? Distracted? Worried? or thoughtful? Cheery? Loving? Hopeful? 

3. Tell them how they've grown. We children of God - we're always evolving. It's one of the most hopeful parts of our existence: we don't have to have it all together, we don't have to be finished - we're held by the gospel and compelled by grace. Sometimes we have to look for the fruit to see where we're growing and where our people are growing and THEN we get to thank God for it. Tell a friend how you've seen them grow, tell them how you've learned more about God watching them, and tell them what you're noticing as they're changing and shifting. 

Tell a friend how you’ve seen them grow, tell them how you’ve learned more about God watching them, and tell them what you’re noticing as they’re changing and shifting. 

4. Let them take it too far. We started using this phrase in our family and church a few years ago - whenever we saw people holding back because of fear or insecurity. So often, we're scared to bring our full selves, our full voices, our full faith to the table because we're nervous not what about what strangers will think - but those closest to us. I started telling those closest to me that they could take it too far: whether it was using their gifts, their voice, or pursuing their dreams. I didn't worry about them "taking it too far" in bad way, because I could trust the Holy Spirit to guide them where needed to be. At the end of the day: I don't want to be the one reigning them in or holding them down, I want to be the voice spurring them on and encouraging them in their God-given passions. 

I started telling those closest to me that they could take it too far: whether it was using their gifts, their voice, or pursuing their dreams. I didn’t worry about them “taking it too far” in bad way, because I could trust the Holy Spirit to guide them where needed to be.

5. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you words for them. This combines two beautiful, holy things that we GET to do! 1) Talk to God and 2) Speaking life! If you know you've got a friend you want to encourage, go in prayer and ask God how He might have you do that. Ask Him for a verse, a word of hope, a picture or some kind of affirmation for them. See if He doesn't give you even better wisdom than the previous four ideas! 

Dance Stand Run comes out in just over ONE week. Which means you've got eight days left to preorder and get all our fun preorder gifts! This is just the beginning - let's go! Let's run.

Can you picture it?

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Because we all do better with a little positive reinforcement, will you indulge me while I paint a picture of a season that I think we could absolutely step into and craft with our relationships and lives? Will you let me describe what I think it could look like to dance, stand, and run?

I know that you all are the choir—you’re the faithful, you’re the ones whose hearts are already tuned to hear His voice and see His hand. But I’ve heard it said that you preach to the choir for one reason alone, and that’s to get them to sing. This is a time where the women of God so badly need to hear one another’s voices, rising louder in victorious harmony in praise of a very good God. They need a song that is louder than the fighting, the shoulding and shaming, the striving and slander. We need a new song of truth and I’m begging you choir, come sing with me.

But I’ve heard it said that you preach to the choir for one reason alone, and that’s to get them to sing.

Come sing and step into the choreography of the abundant life.

I can picture us, the women of God stepping into a new season of understanding grace. In this scenario, women are learning to love the grace they’re being consistently and lavishly given from the Father. They of course feel the weight of their daily sin and brokenness, but they find their identities rooted in sainthood more than they find it in their sin. And as it turns out, they sin LESS where grace abounds! When they recognize the areas they fall short in, dance in the mercy and forgiveness they’ve been given, they’re so much less prone to keep on sinning. Their eyes aren’t closed by defiance and their hearts aren’t made heavy with pride. Not only do they dance in the grace they’ve been given, but they want it for the women, the men, everyone around them.

Since they’re quick to repent, they’re also quick to forgive—they know that they can continually expect to need Jesus themselves and they also anticipate the people they’re in community with needing Him as well. Neediness is no long a bad word amongst these women of God, they don’t apologize for their tears or their prayers or their tenderness. They’re not afraid of grace, they dance to the rhythm of freedom, since they’re no longer chained to obligation or condemnation—they’ve got the margin to tether their hearts to the love of their actual lives, Jesus. They want to go where He goes and follow where He’s leading and they don’t just know they’ve been rescued, they know where it is they He have rescued them to.

Are you in? Will you sing with me?

My fervent prayer is that God changes the tone and the content of the conversation our culture is having about grace, holiness, and mission. I could use your help and I'd love to give you some gifts if you preorder Dance Stand Run. Let's change the conversation and lead in some abundant freedom and joy - starting with ourselves. 

 

Maybe it isn't working.

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Maybe it isn’t working.

Is the word growing empty for you? Grace? Is it just me or is it losing some of it’s power?

I was about 38 weeks pregnant with my daughter Gloriana when I FREAKED OUT and decided to change her name to Colette. I had no emotional attachment to the name Colette. I didn’t really know what it meant. I just found it in a baby name book in the middle of a pregnancy- induced-insomnia fit and I knew that I HAD to change her name.

Why you ask? Because people were saying it too casually. At the time my husband and I ran a maternity home, which meant we had pregnant teenagers living with us (that is a long and beautiful story for another time), and I was surrounded by these sweet other pregnant bellies and all of them were calling her “baby Glory”. Rightfully so - that’s what I’d named her. So I’d walk into a room and someone would rub my belly and say, “How’s baby Glory doing today?”.

It sounded so casual and pedestrian. It seemed that as her name rolled off the tongues of other women, they were so much more connected to her than I was. Here I stood, in pregnancy fog, fearful about the days to come, emotional and overwhelmed and all I knew is that I just wanted everyone to stop saying her name like it was so simple. My pregnancy with Glory had been complex, intense, and miraculous - it couldn’t have been further from casual.

Thank goodness no one listened to me. My sweet mama gently told me that I could call Glory “Colette” if I wanted to, but she was still going to call her Glory. My hormonal freak out passed, we had Gloriana Eloise Connolly on March 14, 2008 and her life has been nothing short of a display of God’s glory since that day.

But that’s how I’m starting to feel about grace - if I’m honest.

If God’s grace is so beautiful and so complex - why do we all feel so exhausted from striving and building and working to earn our place in the kingdom?

If God’s grace enables us to be in relationship with one another, gives us the freedom to fail and keep growing together - why are there so many broken relationships? Why does it seem like humans are so stinking disappointed in one another for acting... human?

If God’s grace is what compels us - why do so many of us struggle with apathy? Fear? Condemnation?

Why are the women of our day harassed by eating disorders, perfectionism, approval addictions, and pinterest perfect pictures of what their lives are supposed to be like?

Why aren’t we dancing in grace? Why isn’t it making us smile? Why does it seem so casual and so ineffective all at once?

You won’t be surprised to hear I’ve got a lot of ideas about why and I’ve got more than a pocketful of prayers - begging God to help us feel the weight of His great grace so it compels us to more.

That’s what a good portion of Dance Stand Run is all about (coming out October 24th) and I’d be so grateful if you’d check it out. Let’s dig in and see what grace might be waiting for us. If you and a friend read it together, we’ve got some gifts for you - see more about those here.

Let’s go. Let’s dance in grace.

Belonging vs. Being Used

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You can sit with us. 
You belong. 
Your story matters. 
There’s a place at the table for you. 

These are some of the encouraging messages smattered on shirts and coffee mugs and journals in all the Christian stores in all the states. I won’t lie—I’ve got a few of the shirts, and I like them. These messages are beautiful and helpful, and I believe during this space in history, when so many young women are unsure of their place and their worth, the encouragement is welcome. We have the joy of welcoming all the people, telling them they have a place with us, hearing one another’s stories, and allowing God to utilize them for His glory. We get to be people with overflowing tables and open hands, not crossed arms and saved seats. 

We get to be people with overflowing tables and open hands, not crossed arms and saved seats.

But this doesn’t have to be the message that our souls crave when we as women of God encounter the world. We’re not meant to find our place or our inclusion in the world. Our “spot” in eternity was paid for by the cross of Jesus Christ. There is more here available for us than belonging to this world and our current culture. 

I don’t like the feeling of being left out any more than the next girl. In fact, I hate feeling left out. I despise the sensation that everyone else has the upper hand or they somehow have something figured out that I don’t. I don’t love knowing that I’m excluded, and I certainly don’t want to be discounted from my community because of my faith in Jesus. Let’s be real: that doesn’t sound fun to anyone. 

But more than I want to belong, I want to be used. And when I approach a people group—whether it’s the women at my church, the other moms at my kids’ school, or the gals I work out with at the gym—I don’t want to enter into needing their approval when I already have all the approval I need from Jesus. 

I don’t want to be asking other humans to fill up the gaps in my soul. Rather, I want to be taking the soul answer to them: Jesus. If we’re going to change the world and stop being changed by it, we’re going to have to acknowledge that we already belong, we already have a place, and we’re already accepted. Not by humans or community or the kind gals we do life with—but by Jesus. 

I don’t want to be asking other humans to fill up the gaps in my soul. Rather, I want to be taking the soul answer to them: Jesus.

Remember in 1 Peter 1 when we were told to by holy as God is? Here's some wisdom on seeking to belong vs. being used by God from just after those passages: "Since you call on a Father who judges each person's work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear." 1 Peter 1:18 

I also love Hebrews 13:14 that says: "For we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come." Looking down at our feet and finding ourself called holy changes everything when we look up at the world around us. We stop looking at this city, this community, this world to be our home - we start remembering that we don't just find our identity in God, but we find our future in His Kingdom. We already belong, and we are so incredibly ready to be used to bring other people with us. 

Women of God, I have only question for you: Are we ready to change the story? 

Are we ready to wholeheartedly embrace the grace of God and reject the desire to belong to this world since we belong to the Kingdom? Are we ready to take back some ground we may have lost in losing sight of our holy standing? Are we ready to allow God to use us to change the world? Are we ready to move into this kingdom on mission, with our hearts more intent on loving others and sharing His marvelous light? Are we ready to dance, stand, and run—for the glory of God and the sake of the world?

Let's go. Let's Dance Stand Run