I’m not even sure how to begin this blog post or if I even have the right words to say but I felt compelled to write something.
This past month has been one of the most painful months for me emotionally. I feel like our country is being torn apart from the inside out and all I can do is watch people hurting. I deleted the Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter apps off my phone at the end of May and I’m not sure when I’ll be downloading them back to be honest. I am not running away from the conversation, in fact I’m doing the opposite but we’ll get to that. I just needed space. I needed mental room to think, discover, learn, and grow without the noise of others influencing the direction I should take.
The first week was the hardest. I had such bad FOMO, it was embarrassing. I would find myself unlocking my phone and aimlessly scrolling to where my apps used to be without even a second thought. I felt like I was out of the know and I would miss something important. But then as time went on, it got easier. While I do miss the community and being connected with friends and family from afar, I also feel a lot lighter and just present. I’ve noticed I have a whole lot more time in my day now because I’m not wasting it on social media. It’s given me time to reflect and think about things I would normally try to push away or ignore.
June has been a trying month. My mental health is not where it should be. My physical health was called into question as well, I was at the doctor’s office several times the last couple of weeks (I haven’t been sick, just trying to investigate some bloodwork they weren’t happy with. So far everything is good. They ran several tests and they’ve all come back negative. I’m still waiting for a few more but I think this is just my “new normal” as with everything else in the world haha. I wanted answers but I’m beginning to see that no answers are good answers for me). But I also started therapy. I started focusing on what I can control rather than the things I can’t. I started listening to podcasts every day, turning off the TV, getting out in nature, being intentional with my time. And I don’t want to stop.
I wanted to share a few resources that I’ve found particularly helpful on this journey I’ve been on the last several weeks. Most of them have to do with race but some of them are about battling anxiety. Almost all of them come from a biblical perspective as I’ve been seeking wisdom and insight from those with the same principles as mine however, I think the conversations will be valuable to everyone, regardless of where your faith and belief stand.
The Power of Vulnerability by Brené Brown – HIGHLY recommend this one. It’s one of the top 5 most watched TED talks and for a good reason. Brene Brown also has a Netflix special that I’d recommend after you watch this TED Talk. I have her books on my Amazon wish list to buy after I work through the many others I’m tackling first.
An Open Conversation About Race Part 1 – This is actually organized by our church back in California. It is so well done and I think a huge missing component to a lot of the things I’ve seen online. Yes, activism is important but real change begins with relationships and, in my opinion, hearing people’s stories. It adds a real, human element to the equation. Please watch this. They also have a list of resources on this page as well.
What the World Needed Then and Now – This was a sermon also from North Coast Church. It’s raw, honest, vulnerable, and maybe not what you would expect.
How to Impact Someone…Not Everyone – Another North Coast Church sermon. I want to listen to this one again and again. It’s so applicable in so many circumstances but it’s also very poignant to climate right now. This one is amazing for parents, for friends, for anyone wanting to make a difference in the world. Just listen to it.
The Happy Hour #301: Danielle Coke – The Happy Hour is one of my all time favorite podcasts and I loved this interview. I recommend following @ohhappydani on Instagram as well. She makes the most beautiful and thoughtful graphics.
Where do we go from here? With Mike Kelsey – This was one of the first podcasts about this issue I listened to and I listened to it twice, once by myself and once with Nick. I love Mike’s insight onto this topic and the biblical approach he’s taking.
This Work Starts With YOU with Latasha Morrison – This is, I think, my favorite interview about this topic. Latasha (her podcast is the next one on this list) is my go-to resource when it comes to racial reconciliation. It’s her life work and this conversation is not new to her.
Be the Bridge – How It All Began! (Part 2) – I also recommend part 1 but part 2 really spoke to me. I am a firm believer in hearing people’s stories and that being the catalyst to real change and I loved being able to be a fly on the wall on this real conversation. The Be the Bridge podcast in general is a must recommendation. It’s so good.
On Racism: Learning to Speak and to Listen – This is a short 5 minute episode but it sums up my thoughts on speaking out vs. letting others speak and use their voice.
Start Where You Are – Kind of a Part 2 to the one listed above, just a short 10 minute podcast.
Lisa Whittle: Jesus Over Everything – I loved this podcast and it was exactly what I needed to hear. I actually listened to this on my way to a scary doctor’s appointment where I had no idea what they were going to tell me. It was just such an important reminder that Jesus is the ultimate everything and when life is crazy, He always needs to come first. I have Lisa’s book on my list to begin reading soon too.
Stopping Toxic Thoughts: Jennie Allen – I’ve listened to probably 5 or 6 interviews with Jennie on this topic from when her book launched but they never get old. This is just the latest one I heard (I also love Jennie’s podcast, it’s linked above under the Mike Kelsey interview and the Latasha Morrison interview). The power of your thoughts cannot be overestimated.
Be the Bridge – I just purchased this one this last week but it’s amazing. I don’t know Tasha personally but I wish I did! She is blessed with wisdom and has a way with words. I mentioned her podcast up above, I highly recommend it.
Divided By Faith – I haven’t finished reading this one, I’m finding it heavy and difficult but it doesn’t make it any less important and I will finish it.
White Fragility – I checked this out digitally from the library and I think I’m going to buy myself at least a Kindle version from Amazon so that I can highlight it and mark it up. I know it’s on many of the resource lists out there right now and it’s for a good reason.
Get Out Of Your Head – I haven’t finished this one yet either, I started it earlier this summer and took a pause to read some books on other important topics at the moment but I can’t wait to get back to this one. I highly recommend it if you battle anxiety or depression or just sometimes wish you could gain control over your spiraling thoughts. I’m currently doing the 6 week study based on the book of Philippians through this book as well, here’s the study guide if you want to join. I’m on week 2 and it’s amazing so far!
I’d love to hear about resources you’ve found useful or insightful! I have a long list I’m working through but I am more than happy to add to that list! One thing I’ve learned, even though I’ve dealt with race and sexism several times in my life in ways I never thought I’d have to experience, I still cannot even begin to fully comprehend the level of systemic racism that still exists in our country today. If you don’t know where to begin or would just like to have a conversation, I’d love to be a sounding board or just a listening ear. I know it can be so overwhelming especially if you’ve never thought about it before and I would love to chat. Feel free to reach out!