Soul to Soul Newsletter

monthly thoughts on being a human right now

I’ve been learning some things about myself lately.

I’ve learned, for example, at the tender age of 32, that my window to drink a cup of coffee in the mornings is from about 8-11AM. Drinking coffee in the afternoons completely messes with my body’s systems, and it’s never a good idea, even though I desperately want it to be.

I’ve learned that at 10:30AM, I really need to eat a yummy protein-packed snack to keep me going until lunchtime.

I’ve learned that I don’t drink enough water.

I’ve learned that there’s a difference between self-care and sitting on the couch worrying.

I’ve also realized that I put a lot of pressure on myself to get things done in a certain way, at a certain time, or I’ve somehow failed.

There was no March newsletter. Most of you probably didn’t even notice, but I did. It was the 31st and I was exhausted, time was running out, and I knew nothing good would come out of me that day, that there were no words or stories or encouragements that I could offer.

Women’s History Month slipped by and I watched others share about it, grateful that some people could muster the energy to lift others up. But new waves of exhaustion kept rising up for me, and I couldn’t fully climb that hill. So, I stepped back a bit.

This is a Soul to Soul newsletter, and my soul wasn’t ready. I had to stop, breathe, and trust that your soul could wait a few more days to hear from me, and that I’d be okay for missing a deadline that I’d created in my own mind.

What an exhausting lesson to learn. But it’s important.

What expectations have we been setting for ourselves in the midst of this truly traumatic time on a collective and personal level? Are the expectations even realistic? Do they allow us to show up for others, or are we trapping ourselves into thinking that we are never enough?

I’d encourage you to take a few minutes this weekend to ask what healthy expectations are in this time, or, as my therapist asked me recently, “What is reasonable?”

I think we may be surprised at what rises out of us, and I hope we can gently listen to our bodies, souls, and minds when they tell us what they need.

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#NativeBook News & Upcoming Events!

I am so excited to share a few things with you about my book, Native: Identity, Belonging and Rediscovering God. We are celebrating the ONE-YEAR anniversary of the book coming out in May, so please stay tuned for some special events next month!

Native has been celebrated in some wonderful ways this month, from being nominated for awards to making lists of books to read in 2021. I am so excited to share some of these with you, because I’m learning to celebrate the wins.

First, it was chosen in a selection of 10 Nonfiction Books to Keep Women’s History Month Going All Year by Religion News Service.

Native was also chosen as a book for the list 2021 Books All Georgians Should Read. I am so honored to be highlighted as an author in Georgia, among so many incredible writers.

Make sure you register for the Festival of Homiletics this year— it’s FREE! I am speaking alongside an incredible lineup of speakers, and I hope you’ll join us.

Now, I want to tell you about something really exciting. I am partnering with my dear friend Nadia Bolz-Weber to launch THE CHAPEL, an experimental gathering of spiritual misfits. This online space will create opportunities for prayer, a book club, honest conversations, and more. *All are welcome, just don’t be an asshole. This platform will be launching soon, so stay tuned!

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Let’s return for a second to this conversation on expectations. I listened to a new episode from OnBeing with Krista Tippett in which she interviewed Dr. Christine Runyan on what exactly has been happening to our nervous system over this last year of immense collective and personal trauma. I’d encourage you to listen to it, especially if you find yourself feeling impatient toward your body as we can’t seem to find our footing. I know every single day feels like I’m existing on an emotional pendulum that is swinging from one extreme to the other, and it’s important to recognize why that is.

Take some time to listen (or read the transcript of the interview) and remember that you’re not alone—we’re simply human.

I hope you’ll take a few minutes to read this piece from Angie Hong in The Atlantic, The Flaw at the Center of Purity Culture. Angie says this:

The rules didn’t seem to apply equally to everyone, however, which I noticed as I began working at and attending primarily white or multicultural churches in college and as I grew older. For all this talk about transcending your body to be pure, I sure was being evaluated on mine. One woman stroked my hair without hesitation while cooing, “Your hair is so beautiful and just so Asian.” I gritted my teeth when men pinched my cheeks after I played music at worship service. I pretended to be entertained when men started conversations with me by fumbling through their ni haos and an yong ha say yos. And I lost count of how many times I was called a China doll.

In the wake of ongoing (as in, this is who America has always been) violence towards Asian women, we have to talk about the ways that patriarchy, misogyny, and racism (among other isms) are simply tools within the larger toolbox of white supremacy, white Christian supremacy and settler colonialism. Go read Angie’s words to learn more, and then make sure you aren’t putting more labor on Asian women to do the work for you.

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Lastly, I’ll leave you with this powerful video about challenging toxic, racist and problematic narratives towards Black people and choosing to “widen the screen.”

Love y’all. Onward.