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Archive for February, 2009

I love watching people who I care about do the things that they are passionate about.  And more than watching, I love involving myself.

Perhaps that explains my recent fascination with high school basketball.  It’s strange.  When I was in high school, I never attended a single basketball game, and I had no desire to do so.  This past December, I attended my first high school girls’ basketball game to cheer on a girl from our youth group (and a friend of hers who is a frequent visitor) who play on the varsity girls basketball team.  Since then, I’ve made it to four additional games and become almost compulsive about checking scores for not only their team, but other teams in the district and conference, and even my own high school (which I graduated from over 5 years ago!).  I don’t even particularly care for the sport, but since I have a connection through a person I’m invested in, I have become involved.

I love watching people who I care about do the things that they are passionate about.  And more than watching, I love involving myself.

While in college I used to sneak up into the balcony of the chapel during the times when the worship dance ministry practiced.  I would sit up there reading, or journaling, or just watching.  It was almost as though through watching the movement of others in worship I was able to participate in that which they were so passionate about.  I’m not a dancer, and probably will never have the poise or grace to lead others in worship through dance, but since I had a connection through people I was invested in, I became involved.

I love watching people who I care about do the things that they are passionate about.  And more than watching, I love involving myself.

What is it that draws us into things?  What is it that involves us?  For me it is the passion of a person in whom I have a vested interest.  It kind of makes me wonder.  What is it that I do with such passion that others are drawn into involvement?  Is there anything that I do with such passion?

I’d like to think that I am passionate about following Christ.  But do I really follow Christ with such passion that others are drawn into a relationship with Him?  I sure hope so.

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For the past four years, I have allowed you to consume my life.  And I’m afraid that our relationship has gone too far.  I have allowed my self-worth to be dictated by wall-posts, comments and friend requests.  I have allowed you to make me feel popular whenever I browse through my 4823923 friends, when in reality there are only a handful of those folks who I could even consider real friends.

You have given me the pleasure of re-connecting with acquaintances of old (remember what’s-her-name from preschool who moved away when we were like 4?  yeah, we’re friends now thanks to you!), and have given me a new and shiny, yet somehow artificial way to be “friends” with relatives, co-workers, and my sister’s friend’s little sister.  You have given me the ability to know that what’s-his-name-the-high-school-football-team is now a father to kids with two different mothers, and to know in an instant who is dating whom.  If it weren’t for you, I would have no idea that girl-from-choir and guy-from-band ended up getting married after all.  Seriously, what would I do without you, Facebook?

Oh yeah, remember that time that we spent hours upon hours together as I wasted away my life playing Tetris thanks to that wonderful little app you like to call “Tetris Friends”?  I think I may have actually lost friends because of that little trist.  And speaking of apps, how would I ever tell my friends how much I care about them if it weren’t for Bumper Stickers and Flair?  Thanks to you, it has been months, if not years since I actually sent someone a hand-written note.  Why waste the energy when I’m sure there’s already a bumper sticker that says “I love you!”.

And why do you tempt me so by suggesting more people I may know?  You know as well as I do that I have no idea who at least half those people are and that the other half are people that I had long since forgotten.  But hey, since you think I should be friends with that popular kid from high school who made fun of me all the time, why not?  Maybe things have changed since then, right?

Oh, and remember that picture?  Yeah, the one from that time at camp when I hadn’t showered in a week?  Remember how someone found it and made it the face of Erin Satterlee for WELL Leadership my senior year?  Ok, maybe that wasn’t so bad.  But seriously, I blame that partly on you.

I heard a song on the radio that reminded me of you.  It brought back all kinds of memories.

I don’t know what I’ve done
Or if I like what I’ve begun
But something told me to run
And honey you know me it’s all or none

There were sounds in my head
Little voices whispering
That I should go and this should end
Oh and I found myself listening

‘Cause I don’t know who I am, who I am without you
All I know is that I should

(Thanks, Missy)

That song came on the radio, and I thought of you.  Then I thought of me.  I realized that I’ve invested way too much of myself into this relationship – far more than I should.  And it’s come to the point where I seriously don’t know who I am without you, and it’s time for that to change.

Anyway, what I guess I’m trying to say is that I think we need to take a break.  I need some time to find myself – to invest myself in all of those things that you have taken me away from – in God, in family, in love, and in real friendship (you know, the kind where you sit and have coffee and talk face-to-face).  You can go ahead and spread your facebook love around to all the other people out there (in fact, I’m sure you have hardly even noticed my disappearance since I walked out on you last night about this time).

Seriously though, it’s not you, it’s me.

I guess I’ll see you later.

Sincerely,

Erin Satterlee

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This year marks the first in quite a number that I have not been able to attend an Ash Wednesday service (mainly because all of the churches I would attend for a service only have one at 7pm which falls right in the middle of my night class).  While I miss the symbolic act of the imposition of ashes as the start to the Lenten season, I have had the opportunity to spend a considerable amount of time today in reflection over the beginning of this journey (especially with all of the newfound spare time I have without the old ball and chain of internet communication tying me to the computer for every waking hour).

In particular I’ve been reflecting on a passage from the Old Testament book of Joel that is typically read during the observance of Ash Wednesday:

Rend your heart
and not your garments.
Return to the LORD your God,
for he is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and abounding in love,
and he relents from sending calamity.
(Joel 2:13)

Rend your hearts and not your garments. This season and journey is not primarily about giving up facebook, instant messenger, twitter, or any other form of internet communication (or whatever else you may choose to abstain from).  Rather, it is about “rending one’s heart” and “returning to the Lord.”  And it’s about doing whatever is necessary to make that happen.

Obviously I’ve made some sort of judgment call as to what is necessary for me.  For you it may be something different – it may mean adding a discipline, intentionally engaging in additional service to others, or eliminating something else from your life in order to make more room for Christ.

Whatever it be, I pray that you are blessed as you walk this journey.

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The liturgical season of Lent has always been one of my favorite seasons of the church year.  This year, I’m particularly excited for the Lenten journey to which God has called me.  Ben recently wrote a wonderful post about Giving Up, Giving Out, and Taking In noting that:

…the season of Lent is not just about giving up things.  Sweets, soda, television, or Facebook.  Lent was a time to fill ourselves with the things of God.  So we empty ourselves of these simple pleasures that we might be filled up with the joy of Christ.  Lent is a time to be drawn closer and to draw closer to God.

There have been years that I have painstakingly legalistic about forcing myself to give up things such as dessert, soda, caffeine, meat, etc. without so much as a thought of filling that space with the joy of Christ.  What is the point if we are not throwing ourselves whole-heartedly at the feet of Jesus, emptying ourselves of our worldly desires and filling ourselves with His love.

So, here’s the deal.  In light of recent struggles and confessions, I’ve been spending some time in prayer and reflection over what God may be calling me to in this Lenten season.  Where does He desire me to empty myself and what areas of my life need to be filled by Him?

For the next 40 days I will be emptying myself of the need to be artificially connected to people:  I have deactivated my facebook account, I will be signing off of Instant Messenger and will most likely stop Twittering.

In place of artificially maintained relationships I will be filling myself: I will be investing heavily in my relationship with God and re-discovering His love, I will be investing in “real life” relationships – with Scott, with my family, with friends, with my youth.  And I will be fully present in those relationships.

So, basically my only outlet for internet communication will be here at the blog – and I even questioned giving that up (but it turns out that blogging is typically beneficial in that it helps me to reflect on God, life, and love).

I look forward to sharing this journey with you.

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I feel like my life has really become quite the mess lately.  I’m disorganized, behind on work, grieving, unmotivated, and running on “fumes” spiritually.  I have really had trouble focusing in classes this quarter.  I constantly feel like I’m a half-step behind everyone.  I honestly need some time to pursue my identity in Christ and to be refreshed in my relationship with Him.

I’m really challenged by Los and his blogatical.

Are there too many distractions in my life?

Am I not protecting myself and my time with the proper boundaries?

Have I lost sight of my true priorities?

I’m wrestling through a lot of issues right now.  I hope you’ll all hold me in your prayers as I pray about what God is leading me to in this season of life.

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As I was on my way to class tonight, Steven Curtis Chapman’s song The Change came on the radio.  It’s funny, because every time I hear that song, I realize more and more how cliche of a song it is.  But, no matter how cliche it is, it never fails to bring back memories of a certain loooong ride in the car on a family vacation the summer between my sophomore and junior year of high school.  We were on our way to Pentwater, Michigan.  I was ticked off at everyone in the car – mom, dad, Kristen, and probably the dog too.  In my fury I had done what any typical teenager does – I popped a CD (it may have  been a mix CD, I don’t remember) into my walkman CD player (iPods hadn’t been invented yet), cranked up the music really loud, and looked out the window for the remainder of the trip.  I was the perfect picture of teenage angst and drama.

And then, something happened.  This song started ringing through my earphones and into my ear drums.  And, despite the cheese of them now, the lyrics did something… they penetrated my teenage angst and fury and reached in and grabbed my soul:

Well I’ve got this way of thinking that comes so naturally
Where I believe the whole world is revolving around me
And I got this way of living that I have to die to every single day
cause if God’s spirit lives inside of me, yeah
I’m gonna live life differently

I’m gonna have the change
I’m gonna have the difference
I’m gonna have the grace
I’m gonna have forgiveness
I’m gonna live a life thats showing
I’m undergoing the change

What about the change
What about the difference
What about the grace
What about forgiveness
I want to live a life thats showing
I’m undergoing the change

There was something about those lyrics that grabbed my heart, pulled it out of my chest, kicked it around a little, and then put it back in, waiting to be rebuilt by God.  I was convicted.

I spent the rest of that week wrestling, exploring and questioning.  What was the meaning of this whole Christianity thing that I had been associating myself with?  Did being a Christian really mean more than having t-shirts and WWJD bracelets and listening to (mostly crappy at the time) Christian music?  What was this change that was being sung about?

I read my Bible.  I journaled.  I prayed.  I lay in bed awake for hours most nights of that vacation.  I really struggled through what it meant to be a follower of Christ and not “just” a Christian.

So, basically, this cheesy song that I just heard on the radio tonight, was the catalyst for what I often refer to as the “turning point” or “conversion” in my faith story.  Sometimes it’s good to be reminded of those times.

Lately (and by lately I mean for approximately a year and a half to two years) I’ve been kind of trudging along in my faith journey.  I’ve been going through a looooong period of what I have learned to name steadfast faith (ty Aaron Wardle and an entire year of preaching Passionate and Steadfast).  As I continue to struggle through this season it’s a huge blessing to be reminded of those seasons in which I have been so passionate about my faith.

And so, despite the cheese of the song, I’m thankful it came on the radio tonight.

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The Hope of Spring

Sometimes in the bleak mid-winter it’s easy to forget that spring is coming.  Whether the ground hog says six more weeks of winter or six more weeks until spring, it’s still six weeks.  It’s really easy to sink into a mid-winter depression – especially here in Cleveland, a city known for it’s epidemic of seasonal affective disorder.

Today in Cleveland we tasted spring.  Snow was melting, it was a balmy 40+ degrees outside, and the sun was shining.  It was glorious (all except for the fact that the youth group was scheduled to go snow tubing today and we had to cancel due to lack of snow).  I’m always thankful this time of year for reminders that spring is coming.  Something better is coming.

Something better is coming.

I need to be reminded of that often.  This world is not my home.  Sometimes I lose the perspective of eternity and the fact that I have so much to look forward to.

Today was a good reminder of that.  I’m thankful.

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