It’s time to say goodbye

Hello friends,

I want to thank you for being faithful readers these past however many years I’ve kept up with this blog. You have followed me down some rabbit holes of directions, I must say. But this blog has been very helpful for me to share parts of my story, learn what I really want to say, and explore my faith.

That being said, I think it’s time to say goodbye.

I have done a lot of thinking about what it is I truly want to share and who I want my target audience to be, and my thematic message as well. I have decided to document something God is teaching me about that I expect to be a life-long journey, and not just a momentary fad.

Please check out my new blog: The Wannabe Minimalist.

Here I will document my journey to leading a more simplified yet meaningful life.

I hope you will join me for this next step in the adventure of my writing career, and I pray you too will be inspired to cut the clutter out of your life and practice saying yes to the very best of life. I won’t say too much, as I am hoping that the blog will explain itself.

Peace out. Namaste. See ya later. Good night! It’s been real❤

I Am From

In Allison Vesterfelt‘s talk on Tribe Writers, she goes back to the basics with telling her audience of writers to reflect on where they came from to get in touch with their true voice. So often we write to build a platform or to make money or for an editor. But when can we say the last time we just simply wrote from where we are and what we came from? Here’s an exercise she lead the group through that I tried out– it’s call an I Am From poem.

FullSizeRender (1)Here’s mine:

I am from cross stitched samplers and bubbling fish tanks

From ez mac after school and silver bear banks

I am from noisy heaters that pop and snap

From advent wreathes and windows with plastic wrap

I am from Dave Matthews and the Goo Goo Dolls

From disney store window shopping and senciled on walls
I am from nutcracker “guys” and Tom Chapin tapes

From homemade costumes and hand-sewn little red capes

I am from songs to wake me up and songs when mom gets home

From the blues in dad’s garage, from french braids and a fine tooth comb

I am from out of tune grand pianos and starburst jelly beans

From pop up trundle beds and oyster stuffing

I am from playing “catch”–
a play fighting game that often ended in tears

I am from softball and track, and running races over these past 20 years

I am from all of these things and so much more

And I am glad of where I came from and glad for what’s in store

My New Job as a PHM: On pulling all-nighters, chicken salad, and hashtags (Part 2)

PHM.

Don’t you love acronyms? True story: I have to go look them up on google or urban dictionary most of the time. This was particularly true when I worked in CPS (don’t worry, you can figure that one out by the hyperlink). A job which, by the way, I recently quit. Ah yes, you see, last week I wrote about that huge change in my life. This post is a sequel to that one, but it can stand alone as well.

So anyway, back to acronyms.

In that last post I referred to my new job as a “PHM”, and so I’m ready to share the meaning of this acronym with you…. are you ready? Okay…

Professional Help Meet.

I first got introduced to this term “Help Meet” from the book Created to be a Help Meet by Debi Pearl. I will warn you that this book is not for everyone. It’s quite traditional when it comes to the role of wives in the household, and I anticipate that many women will fine and have already found it limiting and old fashioned. This does not happen to be my opinion.

True, I was skeptical at first, but in “testing” out being a true Help Meet, I have found it to be absolutely Biblical and amazingly successful in the context of my own marriage.

Anyway, the term “Help Meet” is interpreted is to mean that God gave Adam Eve: a helper who was fitted to meet his needs. But when looking at it’s Hebrew translation–Ezer– it actually means something much more profound and powerful.

Ezer is commonly translated as “help”, but has a much deeper meaning. In her book Eve and the Choice Made in Eden, Beverly Campbell explains,

“This word is a combination of two roots, one meaning “to rescue”, “to save,” and the other meaning “to be strong.”

Diana Webb in her book Forgotten Women of God also clarifies this word by explaining,

“The noun ezer occurs 21 times in the Hebrew Bible. In eight of these instances the word means “savior”. These examples are easy to identify because they are associated with other expressions of deliverance or saving. Elsewhere in the Bible, the root ezer means “strength…. the word is most frequently used to describe how God is an ezer to man. “

dim fog mirrorThe other term, “Meet”, has a little trickier Hebrew translation, but with some research, I have discovered that it not only means “suitable” or “fit”, but “mirror opposite”.

When you really think about this in regards to males and females biologically, this is true. I mean, I don’t want to be graphic, but just the sexual organs alone are mirror opposites, and because of this, they fit perfectly together in order to create life.

Another thing to note: opposites are always equal, aren’t they? They are totally different in qualities and oftentimes function, but they are always equally themselves.

Many have interpreted the role as “Help Meet” as a diminished position of servitude unequal to that of the husband or man.

But I have come to understand Genesis 2:18 as something like the following, “It is not good that man should be alone. I will make him a companion of strength and power who has a saving power and is equal with him.” (Beverly Campbell)

This is the job I have right now:

A Companion of Strength and Power who had Saving Power and is Equal to my Amazing and God-Fearing Husband.

Awesome job title? I know, right?

See, I have begun to help my husband, Dennis Florine, with his career. My job has no real title, as it encompasses so many different jobs– filming, editing, promoting, posting on social media, choosing outfits, booking photo shoots, setting up shows, editing posts, blogging, writing emails, offering advice, preparing meals while the man rehearses, making posters, updating the website, organizing papers and mail, making phone calls, communicating with designers and venues and merch options, creating album covers and artwork, taking photos, and a ton of other things that we’re still figuring out–it’s only been one month as a PHM!

What I am finding, is that my skills, talents, and general likes are exactly mirror opposites to Dennis’, which makes us a very powerful team when we’re working together.

I am also finding that Dennis’ primary love language, Acts of Service, is actually more specific than just doing laundry for him or cleaning up after dinner (which we both do, BTW).

He feels most loved when the Acts of Service for him are helping with his career-his work-his life calling. It makes him feel supported, understood, and believed in.

So, in addition to using my saving powers of strength as a wife and women of God to help his career, my hubby is also feeling super-hard-core-crazy-loved, which, as you can imagine, is pretty awesome for our marriage!

And you know what?–God is so good!–I’m finding so much satisfaction out of this! 

Whether it’s gaining new followers on D’Flo Productions’ twitter page by using specific hashtags, making healthy chicken salad from scratch that Dennis now wants to have on hand at all times, choosing his clothes for his next headshot photo shoot (pics to come soon!), or pulling and all-nighter editing the newest Flo’s Friday Flick, I am feeling so much more appreciated, loved, helpful, fulfilled, and joyful than I ever have!

If you know me personally, you probably know how hard this past season has been, and if you don’t know me, you can read about it in this post.

If you know me personally, you probably also know how hard marriage has been, and if you don’t know me, you can read about that in this post and this post.

Needless to say, this season is very welcomed in the Florine household. All-nighters, chicken salad, hashtags, and everything in between!

You can see our journey on the D’Flo Productions website, facebook, and instagram. Keep up with the story God is creating through our marriage and my new job as a PHM!

Do you have a non-traditional job? How would you describe it? How has your view of wifehood changed since you got married? If you’re not married, what questions do you have about the role of a wife?

My New Job as a PHM: On quitting teaching, walking labyrinths, and foolishness (part 1)

A lot has changed in a matter of about a month.

I quit my job. That was probably the biggest thing.

No longer am I a CPS teacher on the Southside of Chicago. In fact, no longer am I a teacher at all, unless you count fitness classes, but I don’t. No longer am I getting a large paycheck every 2 weeks either… which is also quite an adjustment.

Can I be honest? Oh, you know I will be no matter what you say– I’ve been wanting to quit my job at CPS since about the second week of school this past year. Going there everyday for the rest of the school year was very hard for me. There were days when I could barely keep it together before the kids left, and sometimes when I had to physically leave my classroom to keep from breaking down in front of them all. The end of the weekend was hard, and so was the close of a long break. Getting out of bed was hard. Walking through those doors was hard.

But do you know what as harder?

Actually making up my mind to leave. 

That was way harder.

“I am not a quitter.”

— This is what I kept telling myself day after day. But inside my soul was crying out. Inside I knew that I could be so much more alive and so much more fulfilled in a different environment, doing a different kind of work– a different calling.

After wrestling with God about this for month after month, I finally felt it deep down in my bones: the only reason I would be staying is for the financial security; I was afraid to leave only because of the pay cut it would mean for me. Was that a reason to hang on to a draining job that was quickly squeezing the life out of my passion? Would staying be truly acting out of my identity in Christ?

“For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons and daughters by which we cry out “Abba! Father!” The spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God” -Romans 8:15-16

My heart burned with the conviction that God would be with me, wherever I went and whatever I was doing. Being a CPS teacher was a calling— for a time— and leaving my job as a CPS teacher was also a calling–for this time. I couldn’t live as a true Child of God if I was acting out of fear– being a slave to it, and in doing so, a slave to my identity as a teacher.

I mentioned before about how God took my identity away from some things, and so doing, healed me of a 7-year-long battle with bulimia, and so I knew that if God wanted to take away my identity from the role as “Teacher”, then some serious healing or blessing would probably follow. See, whenever He takes our identity from something, he places it in Himself. This way, we are never defined by this world, but by He who overcame the world. This, in and of itself, is a blessing.

What could I do? God did not give me a spirit of fear! I informed my principal that I would resign from teaching at the end of the year. 

As more and more people “found out” about my departure from CPS, there were mixed opinions.

Some were proud of me, wishing they could do the same with their disliked job.  Some were confused– why would I quit a high-paying job that I was having such success in? Some were supportive, encouraging me to do what what was best for me and my family. Others were discouraging, implying that I was quitting and giving up too soon.

I would be lying if I told you that I didn’t let any of their opinions effect me. But after some Spiritual Direction and time of solitude at the Portiuncula Center for Prayer, I found myself ready to truly say “Goodbye” to my former job, be utterly grateful for every part of it– the good and the bad– and to fully embrace this new and refreshing season in my life.

At the Center, there is this blabyrintheautiful labyrinth that the hermits can walk while meditating or praying. There is only one way into the middle of it, but you must walk the entire interior of the maze. There are no dead ends and no ways to skip or even look ahead in anticipation. You simply have to follow the path, trusting that it will lead you to your destination.

This is how it is when you follow God. You cannot look ahead but a few steps. You cannot fear getting lost, because He is guiding you, and although you may stumble, you will not fall off the path (Psalm 37:24). This takes a lot of trust, and many people on the outside will probably just think you are taking the long way, going around in what appears to be meaningless circles and odd turns that make no sense. But…

“..the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.” -1 Corinthians 1:25

What appears foolish to the world is often the wisdom of God. What appears like weakness to humans, often is taking the mighty strength of God. These facts have comforted me as I think about how my career change may be perceived by others.

All this to say that I now have a new profession.

I call it a “PHM”.

I’ll be explaining what that is in a later post, but rest assured that is it far more energizing, fulfilling, and live-giving than my previous job, and I am so grateful to God that this job is part of my journey on this labyrinth of life. Even if the rest of the world scoffs, I have the reward of my Savior shouting “Well done faithful servant!” in the far corners of my heart.

Stay tuned for more… I’ve got  to get back to work.

On Imperfection, Gratitude, Social Media, and Skipping Devotions: Checking in on the Challenge

It is now past the halfway point of my 100 Artworks of Gratitude Challenge. If you didn’t get a chance to read about that, please check it out.

clay-potter

This has been a messy process of being molded. And now I’m halfway.

I wanted to check in way more often than halfway through the process, but now is as good a time as any.

This process has been an interesting one, and I’m not sure it’s achieving what I thought it would achieve in me. But I still am thankful for the public practice or praising God with gratitude.

Some things I noticed along the way:

1. I get very concerned with the image I am creating doing this process, rather than just being earnestly and honestly grateful. Public things like this on social media are really hard for me to do because of this. I start comparing my posts to other people’s posts, or worrying about how they will be perceived and received by the “masses”. This sort of defeats of the purpose of the process entirely– to get me to focus on what I’m thankful for, not what I think I’m lacking.

2. It sometimes feels like a chore. I’m not too concerned with this one. Lot of things that we enjoy end up feeling like chores when we do them everyday for a long time. We still do them, and the feeling or the activity passes eventually.

3. It is hard to express gratitude for certain things. Some things I haven’t wanted to post because I thought it was stupid, or too trivial, or just ugly. This makes it difficult to feel genuine in the process. See first item. These two are kind of the same.

This makes me question the whole idea of publicly sharing one’s heart on the internet. Ironically, since I’m a blogger and writer. But I think it makes me turn inward to explore my own self more than question the social media aspect. What is it about me that wants to impress or compare? Why do I want to display a perfectly pretty post? Why so concerned about public perception? 

The truth is, my life is so far from perfect that I cannot even pretend that it is— on Instagram, this blog, twitter, or face-to-face over coffee. Just can’t hide it.

So let me be real with you. I haven’t been good about my time with God. I’ve skipped my devotions, slept through my quiet times, and zoned out during church. I have not done well with the “no spending” goal, and actually probably spent more than I usually do on things I don’t really need. I have been lazy, gotten pissy, and have done some pretty silly things without even thinking twice about it, and all directly contradict the whole point of this practice of mindful gratitude and simplicity.

I realize that this sounds super discouraging. And it may sound like I’m giving up, but hang on just a minuet.

The thing I have realized that I am most grateful for during this 100 ArtWorks of Gratitude exploration, the one thing that has truly proven to be a blessing through all of the posting and failing and falling, the one thing I keep coming back to… is so simple.

It’s that, even though I fail or fall short in nearly everything I strive for– the curse of perfectionism– God is faithful in his provision, love, and understanding because of Jesus Christ.

Any little bit of progress, any slight improvement, any attempt at all, is success in His eyes. It may seem like a failure and it may discourage me, but my Father continues to delight in me despite what I think of myself.

Jesus Christ has made this possible for all of us when He taught us how to live, then became a sacrifice for all the imperfection we have. God is perfect, and His holiness cannot stand imperfection, so when He looks down on our imperfect lives, He sees the blood of Christ covering those who accept the covering, and He can then call us family. This is one of the many ways of explaining The Gospel. I hope you hear it in it’s intended way.

If anything this exercise in gratitude has helped me see God as less of an unreachable deity who stands sternly over us all, evaluating and making judgement calls on every move we make, and more of who He really is: a proud Papa looking lovingly down on the works of art that He has created here on Earth (you and me!), encouraging us and giving us hope as we travel along.

And so today, I hope that no matter where you are at in this process, or even if you aren’t participating in it at all, I hope that you can feel how deeply loved you are and how much God is smiling at you as you seek to know Him. We all do that differently and we all are at different spaces, but I trust that if your attempt is genuine and your heart craves Him, He will undoubtedly answer you in the way you best can hear.

And if we are in Christ, if we have accepted His covering, His offering, His saving, let’s be grateful for that.

Shall we?

#100ArtWorksOfGratitude

A Challenge: #100artworksofgratitude

image1 (1)

Lately God has been showing me so much about what it means to live in joyful hope. And also that I suck at it.

Negativity and discontentedness are everywhere, oftentimes created in my own heart and spewing from my own lips into the reality in which I live and breathe along with others.

Gratitude is illusive and escapes me in the heat of the little aggravating moments of mess-ups and maladjustments. And so I need to make a drastic change if I don’t want to be continually dragged down deep into the negative trench of discontent and pessimism. It’s hard to get out of when I’ve been practicing it for so long, but I’m ready to fight it with the persistent practice of positivity.

I won’t waste my words with more wanton phrases of failed attempts and disappointments; I will get down to brass tacks and just tell you what’s going down.

I have a challenge for you. For myself. For us. 

My challenge is simple yet radical, and it will take a strong commitment.

My challenge is to create 100 works of art that express joy and gratitude for the life I’m living. All parts of it– the messy and the magnificent alike–1 work of art each day.

These artworks can look like just about anything–remember, there is art in even our breath– so I invite you to join me no matter what your artistic inclination or experience.


Some ideas:

-List one thing you’re grateful for each day.

-Take a picture of one thing you’re grateful for each day.

-Say something positive about yourself or your life each day.

-Create a mantra (like “live out loud” or “take risks” or “be your best self”) and live it out each day.

-Give something away each day to make yourself aware of all the access you have.

-Do something nice for someone each day.

-Tell your spouse, parents, siblings, coworkers, or friends you care about them in new ways each day.

-Take time for yourself doing something that you love and that builds into your best self each day.


The clutch thing is that we must document it. I will do so, and I will also have some other challenges– personal goals for my life– and I will be sharing those with you as well. It’s important to share and document so that we can all hold one another accountable– even if no one else participates, I know it will be good for my own self-motivation.

Here are my goals: Take a picture or create a work of art that expresses gratitude each day for 100 days (will be posted on Instagram @artofbreath), spend no money on unnecessary items (wants/frivolous desires/selfish pursuits) for 100 days, focus on God’s love revealed through scripture: 1 scripture or Biblical truth each day for 100 days, think of others as better than myself and truly explore what it means to love the least of these, and to love my husband as a respectful, gentle, kind, and humble wife in a very radical and unselfish way.

I am hoping that practicing this for 100 days will imprint these habits into my lifestyle as deep and lasting character traits. I fully expect to be changed by this experience.

I hope you will join me. Please share this post, or use hashtag #100artworksofgratitude and begin your own journey. Our Day 1 of 100 begins now. 

Too much and Not enough All at Once: about making room this Christmas season

make-room

I wanted to write a political piece about race and culture and how to fix it all, but…. I’m tired. And I’m too realistic to pretend that I can pull out a single solution from the complex and intricate tangle of thread that all of racism is.

Another time. I promise.

Instead, I want to write about …
Continue reading

Reclaiming “Our Song”

our songIt’s a Monday evening, and I’m sitting at a coffee shop with my feet up on the seat across from me like I’m at my own home. I’m all cozied up with a good book, ready to tear off a piece of my butter croissant and wash it down with a sip of my soy Café au lait when I am startled by a song that begins playing through the speaker directly above me.

It’s my family’s song– yes– family.

See my mom, my dad, my brother, and I have our own song.

No, we didn’t write it or perform it, but it has always, as far as I am concerned, been about us… at least the chorus is. I can’t make much sense out of the verses.  

We are 1 person

We are 2 in love* 

We are 3 together

We are 4 each other

*the real lyrics are “2 alone”, but I have always thought that the singer said “in love”, and that’s part of why it makes it our song, so I will keep it the way I hear it instead of the way it is.

I remember when I first recognized this as our song. It was when my mom was acting all weird one day, trying to keep it from me that she was a few days late and thought she might be pregnant. She told me though, and my dad and I waited patiently outside of the bathroom while my brother played with action figures on the basement floor.

She came out and handed a little pink stick to my dad. He smiled with something that wasn’t quite disappointment, but wasn’t quite relief either. He looked at me and at my mom, and he drew us all in for a hug.

“We’re still ‘4 each other'”, he sang, emphasizing the “four” with his fingers. 

And that’s when I knew it was, indeed, our song.

I lost track of this tune and it’s meaning for my family when I was a teenager, yearning to be independent, giving anything to break free from the “4” that I had been a part of for my entire life. I wanted my own song, to march to the beat of my own drum, proverbial though it may be.

And thus began my seemingly endless obsession with music– the quest for “My Song”…I cycled through many:

Walk Over Me- Dirtie Blonde

Summer Skin- Deathcab for Cutie

I Need You To Know- Superchick

Redlight Pledge- Silverstein

Tool Sheds and Hot Tubs- The Straylight Run

And any Bright Eyes song ever written by Connor Oberst. 

(Just to name a few.)

But of course these changed as rapidly as my taste in music did, or my relationship status, mood, location, ect.

It’s not until now– now that I am part of my own new family, that I recognize this song again– the “4 each other” song that my immediate family claimed as their own for so long.

And I wonder if my parents, who originally dubbed the song as ours, still think of it as ours. Or if they stop at “we are 2 in love” now…

Because their daughter’s married off. Their son is about to move out (right Tom?). And we aren’t really “3 together or 4 each other” anymore. Because it’s not just us anymore. It’s more or less, but it’s not just us.

This brings about so many other questions having to do with growing older and changing family dynamics.

Like, when does my “immediate” family of mom, dad, and siblings, get renamed my extended family?

Like, when do my parents become the matriarch and patriarch of my family? What do Christmases start being held with them as the grandparents?

Like, what is my family song and what will happen when my daughter hears it at a coffee shot some random weeknight after she’s tried desperately in her past to break away from it? Will she be brought back by the same floating lyrics and simple melody? Or will she even remember “our song”?

I realize that many of the answers to these questions involve marriages occurring, children being born, and perhaps even some people dying. I realize that I am still very much a part of my family of origin, and always will be. But I also realize I have my own new family.

It began when I “broke free” and was… 

“1 person”

and it continued when I met and married my husband…

“we are 2 in love”

It no doubt will continue when we decide to have a child, and then we’ll be…

“3 together”

and perhaps another, and then we’ll be…

“4 each other”

I’m not sure what lyrics we’ll have to add in, as Dennis keeps insisting that we will have 17 kids (better get started soon, I say!), but you get the idea.

It’s funny that I fought to break free from this song, and now I’m headed back to it… Maybe it’s the type of song that gets passed down, you know? Like a husband’s last name. 

Or maybe it just needs to stay as a song of the past, reminding my brother and I of where we came from, and my parents of what they created.

I think we all need something we can both look back on to remember and take forward with us to our future, making it our own. Maybe this song is like that for me. Maybe it will always remind me of where I came from and what I want to create.

Maybe it will always be a part of my legacy. Or maybe I’ll forget it and only be reminded when I hear it playing on the radio– something I imagine will happen less and less as the song grows older.

But the idea of a family, whatever the size, being for each other, will not fade from my mind, even if these lyrics do. I’m finding that as I grow older (or grow up), this fact has become truer and truer.

Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young had no idea they wrote my song, “Helplessly Hoping”, but I’ve cycled back to it nonetheless. Sorry, Bright Eyes– you didn’t make the cut this time.

“Just Do Something!” might be a little too liberating for some

So, I recently finished Kevin DeYoung’s book “Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach to Finding God’s Will OR How to Make A Decision Without Dream, Visions, Fleeces, Impressions, Open Doors, Random Bible Verses, Casting Lots, Liver Shivers, Writing In The Sky, Etc.”.

The title alone has it’s own paragraph in my post, but I can assure you that this little book is a quick read, and most people simply refer to the title as “Just Do Something”. This review I am writing is on behalf of Moody Publishers, who provided me a copy of the book and the permission to post a review of it. So here goes:

Quite honestly, I found this book to be a liberating counterbalance to the hyper-cautious and fearful notion that our day-to-day decisions can screw up God’s plan for our lives. I teach Sunday School at my neighborhood church, and I also am a pretty new Christian (4 years), so I definitely understand the desire to hit the preverbal nail on the head of God’s will– It’s a desire that I’ve found many very “green” or young Christians have. So I am fond of DeYoung’s description of God’s will as more of a circle outlined by scripture, as opposed to a single solitary dot on a massive span of sinful white space.

His point is clear: Scripture can point us to universal truths that will help us live within the sphere of God’s Will. We don’t have to wait for a giant sign in the sky to go ahead and apply for a job or declare a major in college. I get that. But while I found this book refreshing and liberating, I couldn’t help but be disheartened and uncomfortable with DeYoung’s downplay of the role that the Holy Spirit has in our lives.

One of the book’s key points (it’s stated over and over again, rather redundantly) is that moral decisions matter much more than non-moral ones. As in, if the decision is simply a matter of preference or connivence, but doesn’t hurt anyone, then it’s fair game. Because of this, DeYoung’s rhetoric tends to downplay the significance of life’s biggest decisions that simply happen to be non-moral. For instance, deciding who to spend your life with and what vocation or career path to take. He almost goes as far as saying that God doesn’t particularly care who you marry or what your job is as long as you’re living in moral obedience to the Scriptures.

Now, I get that this is targeted at a specific audience, at least, that’s what I think. I believe that part of the goal that this book has is to motivate sluggish or wish-washy Christians who are either too fearful to make a decision, or too lazy. The problem for me is this: I’m not that type of Christian.

Actually, I’m the opposite. I tend to need slowing down in my decision making. I tend to need a dose of discernment to curb my reckless action. I mean well, really I do, but I’m not comfortable waiting without making a move, so oftentimes I simply make a move, without consulting the Holy Sprit. So, if you are like me, this book may encourage your usual type of craziness, because it emphasizes the need for us to get up and act!– something which we may not need to be encouraged to do at all.

The issue I have with this book is that it’s author ends up reducing the will of God to obeying the Bible. In other words, it’s message is “stop worrying about your future spouse, career, or ministry calling and work on your personal holiness”. This strikes me as rather impossible, because I truly believe that our spouse, career, and ministry calling have a great deal of impact on our holiness.

The other thing I fear that this book does is absolutely trivialize the sincerity of those who seek God’s will in their “non-moral” or everyday decisions.

Because of DeYoung’s strict delineation of moral vs. non-moral or (in his eyes) “trivial” decisions, the role of the Holy Spirit becomes little more than helping us understand and obey the commands of Scripture. I got the sense that DeYoung doesn’t put much stock in having a conversational relationship with God in which He actually speaks to us about out lives. Now, I am a little bias, because he actually references one of mine and my husband’s favorite books entitled “Practicing the Presence” and calls it out as absurdity. Quite frankly, this rubbed me the wrong way. I mean, that book is a classic. It really is.

Personally, I have experienced the direction of the Holy Spirit about a lot of matters which may seems trivial, but end up being life-changing. For instance: whether to stop being a vegetarian, or what job to accept, or who to stop and pray for on my run through the city. Yes indeed, as I look back on my 25 years, I can see many instances of God’s guidance, presence and provision though a variety of “non-moral” decisions that brought me to where I am today. These were not matters of biblical obedience vs. sin, but God was certainly concerned and involved throughout the process. And quite honestly, I believe He wants to be.

Yes, there will be times when God says “go ahead and choose whatever seems best”, but many times He has a plan, and we, as believers with the indwelling of Jesus Christ through His Spirit, need to be conscious of every way He could use us, not just in the big moral decisions of our lives, but in every aspect of it.

To you readers, and especially you young and fearful ones who think God’s will is a tiny dot and are terrified of missing said dot, I say to you: Read the book! But do so with a grain of salt, knowing that God can be an intricate part of your life if you allow the Holy Spirit to guide you.

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