Archives For Margaret

Everything Hinges on Your Ability To Do This One Thing

The loudest voices in our culture herald a consistent message. Go big. Go viral. Get busy.

Get distracted. Ooh! Look at this. Ooh! Shiny, shiny, shiny.

Perhaps you’ve noticed this, too.

The screens and software and computer devices we use are designed to train us to pay attention to them and nothing else. The way they sound, feel, and look are created so they become the center of lives. This isn’t cultural commentary as much as basic brain science.

As the Hugh McGuire observes in this brilliant article:

  • “New information creates a rush of dopamine to the brain, a neurotransmitter that makes you feel good.”
  • “The promise of new information compels your brain to seek out that dopamine rush.”

Ever notice—Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, email, text—sets off a rush of dopamine. The rush causes us to develop behaviors that reinforce our behaviors. Responding soon becomes habit.

Start a project. Need dopamine. Check Facebook. Dopamine rush. Check email. Second dopamine rush. Hit refresh. No new emails. Visit Twitter for dopamine rush. Return to project. Repeat cycle again and again.

No wonder it’s so hard not to look at our phones when we feel the vibration or hear the ring or ping. Our brain science urges, “You want this. Just a peek.” Continue Reading...

Is God A Rewarder of Dogged Determination and Holy Chutzpah?

The highest compliment that my Jewish grandmother ever handed out:

“She’s got chutzpah!” (pronounced hoot-spuh)

Perhaps that’s because my Jewish grandmother didn’t hand out many compliments. (If you lack a Jewish grandmother you may not recognize why that last line is funny).

In my Jewish father’s home, chutzpah was a good thing. It meant you had courage, strength, bravery, readiness to step out and say or do whatever is needed.

That’s why, a few years ago, I started posting a Morning Chutzpah on Twitter.

Every day, I provide a quote from a Jewish thinker, writer, entertainer that’s got some pow. Sometimes they’re reflective. Ironic. Zany. Funny. Here’s a doozy: Continue Reading...

How Cancer Changed the Way I Read the Bible

Cancer shatters illusions, magnifies weaknesses, and strips me of the existence I once knew.

Somewhere along the way the lens through which I view each day changed.

Though it’s still murky and muddled, I can’t help but notice: Continue Reading...

The Secret to Making this the Best Summer Ever

Maybe you’ve found yourself crying out to God and all you hear is silence.

Maybe you can’t remember the last time you sensed the presence of God.

Maybe you’re wondering why God doesn’t make Himself more real in your life, in your situation.

Let’s be honest. We all go through days, months, even years, when God feels 10,000 miles away. If that’s you, you are not alone.

Tucked into the New Testament, we find the promise:

Come near to God and he will come near to you. —James 4:8

Are you ready to draw near? Continue Reading...

The Bible Says Jesus’ Yoke Is Easy, But Some Days I Doubt

Sitting in the counselor’s office after months of brutal treatment, I felt exasperated by the loss of strength, energy, clarity, sanity. As soon as I finished one treatment, I entered another. Chemotherapy. Radiation. More and more surgeries.

The counselor slapped me across the face with the following words:

Resilience is finite.

The Bible Says Jesus’ Yoke Is Easy, But Some Days I Doubt

The statement caught me off guard. I’ve always thought of resilience as endless. The spring always bounces back. The well always renews.

The counselor revealed that overused metal springs can wear right through. Some wells run dry. The bounce never returns. The place remains barren.

Thirty years of counseling experience, and he’d seen this again and again.

People burning through their resilience. Empty. Lifeless. Former shadows of themselves.

Sometimes the sparkle never returns to the iris.

I didn’t want to be among them. Continue Reading...