Trust: What do you promise people?

Sara Longenecker _Trust in Leadership

**This series on leadership is inspired by Gallup’s StrengthsFinder test and materials. I highly recommend everyone to take it– it is the most accurate and encouraging test of its kind that I’ve come across. Just so you know, I don’t make any commission off that link; I’ve just found it to be a valuable resource and want to share it with everyone!**

When thinking about our particular places of leadership or influence, sometimes it’s helpful to remember that we are essentially building TRUST with those we lead: our co-workers, our fellow laborers in non-profit/ministry, our families. Research has found that trust is the single most important element that people express when asked about (positively) influential leaders in their lives. The Gallup national poll statistic is this:

“the chances of employees being engaged at work when they do not trust the company’s leaders are just 1 in 12. In stark contrast, the chances of employees being engaged at work are better than 1 in 2 if they trust the organization’s leadership– a more than sixfold increase.” (Strengths Based Leadership, Barry Conchie & Tom Rath, Gallup Press 2008.)

So we must ask the simple question, “What are we promising them?”

Continue reading “Trust: What do you promise people?”

A few thoughts on the Trinity and sex.

a few thoughts on the trinity and sex

In that day you will know that I am in My Father, you are in Me, and I am in you.” –Jesus (Jn. 14:20)

The theological idea of perichoresis (“mutual indwelling” — or the community that exists, the perfect union without loss of distinction, that breathes and lives and interacts and maybe even dances among the members of the Holy Trinity) has something to do with sex.

Continue reading “A few thoughts on the Trinity and sex.”

Fear of the Lord

fear of the lord

If you are a believer in The Way, then this is for you.

I’ve been hearing a lot of fearful talk lately among Christians. Fearful of our times; fearful of the horrific events happening all around the world to people just like you and me. Fearful of the future (especially here in the United States) and of the outcome of our Presidential election. Afraid of what will happen if Trump and his ungoverned mouth take office, or what will happen if Clinton and her shady dealings take power. Most people are expressing a sentiment of feeling stuck in a game that nobody asked to play. And as Christians, we are being watched by the world -watched, ridiculed, scrutinized- because we are held to a higher and stricter standard. Even those whose hearts are not open to the Lord will look at us and expect something more. We look at each other and expect something better, something hopeful, but instead we often end up spreading more fear.

Continue reading “Fear of the Lord”



The storm woke me up.

That- and my 2 year old, startled awake from the rumbling thunder and continuous lighting. I shuffled in to his room, barely coherent myself, and helped him to the bathroom. Soon, I carried him back to bed, his tiny arms wrapped around my neck. After tucking him back in, kisses and hushes, I headed back to my own room, but found myself pausing in the hallway.

The light flashing in from the tall living room windows cast a strobe-like effect on everything. The rain was pouring, hitting the roof hard, without mercy. Thoughts of the day’s events- the two brutal civilian shootings by police- were caught up in my head and my heart. I prayed.

Lord Jesus, come! Come soon! This world is so broken. The people don’t understand that they are being played, by the enemy of their souls, like desperate puppets. Their hearts are dark. They cry out- WE cry out- for justice to be served and instead, we receive another slap on the face.

The tears welled up within me, the heaviness of yet another pair of lives lost crushed my heart. The rain was sad and angry and everything that I was feeling, washing over the house.

As I went back to bed, I thought about the scriptures urging the people of God to mourn with those that mourn, to contend for those that are unjustly abused, to be a voice for the voiceless. To remain humble and hopeful, despite the antagonistic rhetoric thrown at us everyday. To pray for our enemies. To wash the feet of sinners. To lay down our own lives (our very lives!) for our neighbor, whomever that might be.

The truth is this: this earth will not be made whole until Jesus comes back. It is his work to complete. But that yearning for a new earth and a new mankind is deep in our hearts for a reason. (Here is a secret: we get to participate!) It will happen, but it hasn’t happened yet.

In the meantime, as we wait and pray and lend a hand and go to court and protest and vote and make a meal and cry and wash feet and give a hug and love, we are called to continually point toward the world to come. Toward the One who brings the essence of it to our hearts even now. We are that city on a hill, a beacon of hope shining to everything around it, but Jesus is the very light. He is the One that radiates from us.

We are the house, but he is the warmth and the light within. We are the vessel, but he is the water, quenching the thirsty. We are to participate, but he is the hope. Maranatha.

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea no longer existed. I also saw the Holy City, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared like a bride adorned for her husband. Then I heard a loud voice from the throne:

Look! God’s dwelling is with humanity,
and He will live with them.
They will be His people,
and God Himself will be with them
and be their God.
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes.
Death will no longer exist;
grief, crying, and pain will exist no longer,
because the previous things have passed away.

Then the One seated on the throne said, “Look! I am making everything new.” He also said, “Write, because these words are faithful and true.” And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give water as a gift to the thirsty from the spring of life.”

(Rev. 21:1-6)

A Slow Walk

a slow walk.png

Sometimes you write a blog post after weeks of feeling brain-dead and exhausted and it takes hours to write because of the many, many interruptions that happen in the life of a mom and wife and it takes real concentration and just a small glass of wine to finally finish. And then, even after years of use and faithfulness, the blogging platform has a moment and completely loses said post. I could have cried, lemme tell ya. I could have succumbed to the feelings of utter defeat.

But you know what? Instead, I chose to let it go.

Instantly I felt a thousand times better and like I somehow skipped ahead in the game, just completely bypassed the anger or frustration or whatever I was supposed to feel. It was great!

And then, I realized two things. First, I told myself to get up tomorrow (I had finished the post close to midnight) and write again. To keep at it. Keep writing. Never stop. I knew instinctively that in order to embrace this part of me, the creative side, I would have to be okay with loss now and then. Okay, lesson learned. Moving on.

The second thing was, Wow! I was changing! Even though the last several months, and in some ways years, have felt like a slow walk without arriving anywhere new…this wasn’t actually my reality. What was really happening was slow, yes, but a slow and steady move toward who I was called to be- who I’ve thought about and pictured myself becoming- this gradual changing of my character.

Do I want to be patient? Do I see myself as a leader? A true friend? A champion for others? Someone who chooses love? I see these labels in my head, like files in a folder, needing to be organized. But how much better is the love of God that his gentle Spirit guides me toward the areas I most need to work on in that moment? And yes, he is strong like a rock, but he is also ever moving forward, like a river that slowly changes the landscape around it with its quiet strength.

Where ever you are today, be encouraged that growth and change are happening, even if it seems slow (or non-existent.) Ask God to give you little glimpses into how he sees you- his excitement for your life and who you are becoming. Let your Creator and heavenly Father -who knows you best- connect with you in a way that you can get…he knows how to speak your language, because he made you that way.

And please check back and keep me accountable to keep writing! I appreciate you!



Take and Eat

take and eat.png

The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too. (Gen. 3:6, NLT)

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” (Matt. 26:26)


When Jesus takes the bread in to his hands, breaks it, and says to his disciples, “Take and eat; this is my body,” the connection to Eve’s moment of “taking and eating” of the fruit in the garden becomes clear. As W.S. LaSor says about that awful moment in the garden, “So drastic the results…so hard the undoing.” The work that Jesus was preparing to do on the cross, the awful reckoning that would soon happen after this evening meal, was a type of reversal of the “work” of sin that happened at the fall.

When we, as believers, partake in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus (bread and wine, the earthly symbols of communion standing as a reminder of this), we accept the reversal of the curse through Him. This thought is mysterious because it is a spiritual work, but one that I’m in the throes of experiencing and continue to understand in an ever-unveiling kind of way. This exchange is holy and yet, it has tangible effects, like something invisible that moves over the water, causing ripples for as far as the eye can see.

The word pictures used throughout the New Testament encouraging us to “stay rooted” and “remain in Me” and “remain in the vine” look different when we consider that being in Christ means taking on His nature- one that was sacrificial. Our culture wants to entice us with the promise of a return for ourselves (what’s in it for me?) but if we “take and eat” the body and work of Christ, then we are taking on the sacrificial nature of the lamb. Do we even understand this?

Because we are all complicit in that early scene of temptation- my desire for self-awareness was there, my urge to know it all and be the center of everything was there, and so was yours- we require one to reverse the thing that happened. Jesus takes the loaf of bread, tears off a piece, extends an invitation. Take and eat.

When we come to the table, it is a serious exchange, but one that ultimately leads to the resurrected life.

4 Ways to Get Work Done

4 ways to get work done

Somehow, I’ve found myself in yet another season of discipline, but this time more specifically, self-discipline. Because I am pursuing my undergrad entirely online, it forces me to get serious about a couple of things. Here are a few ways that help me stay on task and get work done.

  1. Make a schedule, stick to it. Generally I like to work in a loose schedule -my day has touch points of getting stuff done, but with a lot of room for flexibility. Or, ya know, entirely deviating from those touch points, depending on the day. But because I am now accountable to assignment deadlines, childcare schedules, etc, it helps to have clear deadlines. Alarm to get up in the a.m. (and actually get up!), alarm to leave the office and head home. Give myself a clear “lunch hour” and “afternoon-coffee-half-hour” to get some fresh air and to get errands done. As much as possible: Respect the schedule.
  2. Hard stuff first. I was reminded of this recently while listening to Monocycle, one of the Man Repeller podcasts, when Leandra’s husband mentioned that he did this as well…basically you get the hard stuff done first thing. For me that usually means making dreaded phone calls (and by dreaded I mean, any phone calls) in the morning. This also includes writing blog posts or papers…I love to write, but it is hard work!
  3. The Mighty To-do List. I’ve tried a few to-do lists apps and still haven’t found one that just clicked…so I’m back to OG style, using a small lined yellow pad and pencil and numbered lists. At the start of the week I’ll number all of my assignments and deadlines and then relish the feeling of marking a nice black line through them as they are completed. For things like grocery lists and songs to look up and random thoughts while driving, I’ll just use the unpredictably fun combination of the Evernote app and Siri.
  4. Task and reward. So simple, but oh so good. I’ll just pair a difficult or dreaded task with some kind of equal reward. As in, finish this chapter of reading and then zone out on Instagram for 2 min. If it is something challenging or brain-draining, I’ll work until a certain time and then “reward” by watching a Lisa Eldridge video and grabbing a snack.

Those are just a few ways that work for me, but please let me know in the comments (or on Instagram, duh) some of your little tricks to get stuff done! And now that this task is done, I’m gonna go see whats up online and probably post a photo of something dumb.

What I Believe

What I Believe

You know what I believe?

I believe that you can be an intelligent, curious, and deeply spiritual woman and also get a kick out of a great shade of lipstick. I believe that you can think well and do well and still dress well.

I believe that my worth is measured and spoken by the One who made me, so I can stand up and speak confidently. I believe that boldness comes from a place of sacrificial living and courage is rooted in love.

I believe that we are women, who have given birth and started businesses and served the poor and created beautiful things and solved problems, who deserve respect.

I believe that it was God’s idea to bring forth womanhood and it was good.

I believe that the world will always try to diminish us, but the Father of lights will lavishly fulfill us. I believe that perfection will continue to be sold to us, but that His love is truly perfect.

I believe that we are made whole only through His work in us. I believe that He has great plans for us and will display His glory through us.

I believe that we can be the very unique, vibrant, unrestrained version of ourselves in His presence. I believe that we will find real freedom there.

photo by Jamie Brown


Stuff I Like

Stuff I Like.png

I know this is like *really inspired* but I thought you might like to know what I’m in to these days. I enjoy hearing about what others are in to- be it podcasts, books, beauty products, or secret breakfast spots, I like to be in the know.

So I’ll share some of my likes and you can tweet or comment me some of yours. That way, we’ll all be in the know and no one will be left out. Like I tell my 4 year old, it’s more fun to share!Continue reading “Stuff I Like”