This Makes God Smile.

Friends, I’m going to share an excerpt from a new book with you today. But if hearing the words “daily devotional” makes you want to bolt, I understand, because I feel that way sometimes too. Daily devotionals and I have a checkered history, as they tend to trigger perfectionistic thinking. If I’d miss a day, I’d start to feel bad about myself, thinking, Shouldn’t I be more disciplined? And at some point I’d start comparing myself to the author, thinking, Shouldn’t I be ‘more spiritual’, more like so-and-so? Then I’d end up feeling like I’d failed at loving God if ...
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You Have Permission to Walk Out.

Friends, a few quick notes to start: A Wish Come Clear celebrated its four-year blog anniversary on January 16! I had every intention of publishing that day, but life got in the way. In the past week, I’ve faced a host of physical issues. (I’ll spare you the details, but don’t worry, nothing is serious, just unpleasant.) Naturally, I did not appreciate this. Who enjoys letting go of their plans, taking pills, and slowing way down? Not me. However, there is a silver lining. I’ve had practice letting go of judgment and self-blame and choosing kindness, which is a spiritual ...
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Terror, Triumph, and Taking the Stage: Lessons from TEDxBirminghamSalon

Friends, a funny thing happened when I started writing about what it was like to speak at TEDxBirmingham: I kept using plural pronouns. I kept writing, “We traveled, we spoke.” Don’t worry, there’s a simpler explanation than schizophrenia. I wrote in the plural because I felt your excitement and encouragement as a tangible presence at TEDxBirmingham, and I cannot thank you enough for that. Plus, you helped me choose my topic; I based the talk around this post. Your thoughtful responses galvanized me to write and speak about our shared struggle with perfectionism. I’ll post the text of the talk ...
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In Which I Break the Rules & Go Cold Turkey

Nobody likes being sick. A few weeks ago, I faced a fourth case of shingles, my least-favorite and most-recurrent illness. And my body was in great shape compared with my thoughts, which surrounded perfectionism and blogging. You see, I was struggling with a scarcity mindset regarding our readership here. I’d become overly attached to the goal of reaching 1,000 subscribers, so much so that I couldn’t feel the tremendous abundance that is already here. To be fair, this 1,000-subscriber fixation didn’t come out of nowhere. It was fueled by the advice of myriad big-time bloggers, many of whom actually say, ...
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Lessons from the (Emotional) Arctic Tundra

Have you ever struggled with a weighty sense of failure, a belief that no matter what you try, you’ll make the wrong move? Have you ever found yourself feeling uncomfortable in a group, thinking: I don’t belong with all these happy people. I’d like to cheer up, but I’m just tense and miserable. Wish I could be like them … ? If so, dear friend, you are not alone. I could talk about our current survey all day — 58 of you have filled it out as of this writing! — but I’ll just share these findings: 53 out of 58 ...
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Confessions of a Recovering Perfectionist

Have you ever had your life get flipped, turned upside down? No, really, my fellow recovering perfectionist – I want to know. This isn’t just an excuse to quote the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song. I want to know if you’ve had every shred of confidence swept away. I want to know if you’ve stood in the clearing, terrified of the emptiness around you. And most of all, I want to know if you’ve come through stronger than you were before. …
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Spend It Offering Light: Week 1

Today is the day: our new series, “Spend It Offering Light” (#OfferLight) starts now, with essays from Brooke Adams Law and Abby Norman! This recent post inspired the idea, and the stories I’ve received have been breathtaking. “Spend It Offering Light” features real people turning their fears into something that helps others, into light. …
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One Question To Ask When the Going Gets Tough

On my first day of kindergarten, my mom gave me some advice. She told me what her mother told her on the first day of school: when you walk through the doors, don’t worry about making friends. Just focus on finding the girl who looks even more upset about all this than you do. Go over to her and say hello. Smile. Then, you’ll have a friend. My five-year-old-self was incredulous. Could it be that simple? With a little prompting, I gave it a shot. I walked up to a weeping girl and said, “Hi, I’m Caroline. What’s your name?” ...
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On Accepting Yourself (Even if Self-Checkout Tries to Shame You)

Once upon a time I was at a Walmart in Alabama, doing my best not to be a Jersey girl. That is, I was trying not to rush and dash and move at twice the speed of other shoppers. (Talk about accepting yourself.) Every checkout line was long, so I headed to self-checkout. My pragmatic husband loves self-checkout: the efficiency! The autonomy! The lack of interaction! I would rather go to a cashier, though. I like cashiers. They’re people, which means they’re family. Self-checkout and I … we just don’t get along. I try to be careful, but I always ...
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Cross Everything Else Off Your List, Leaving Just This.

Photo: Brian A. Taylor Photography. Used with permission. Friends, the weather outside is frightful, so I'm glad to be here in my writing room, sharing this post on the true meaning of the holiday season. I'm also glad that we have central heating this winter. Happiness really is the small things, like not having to wear a hat in the house. And this reminds me of another story about four girls backpacking through Europe. It's one of my favorites, because I was one of those girls. Now, I could tell you a lot of dramatic stories about that ...
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