It’s not personal- it’s business

“It’s not personal, it’s business.” – quote from my favorite movie, You’ve Got Mail. The Tom Hanks character says it to the Meg Ryan character as he’s putting her little Shop Around the Corner out of business.

Reminds me of something I’ve been talking over with a friend of mine lately. Over Thai food this Friday night, the question kept coming up- what’s personal, and what’s business? As someone who notoriously does not keep my cards held close, a difference between business and personal used to make little to no sense to me. A relationship is a relationship! Screw me over in business, you’ve screwed me over in life, end of story. But after 1 year nannying someone else’s babies in NY, 2 years in a poorly lit cubicle at a Marketing Company (ironically, with the aforementioned Thai food buddy,) and now knocking on the door of the typical 18 month life span of a youth worker, I’ve seen that this is not the case. Turns out most people feel that business and personal are different.

-For instance, you can trust someone as a friend, but not as a colleague.
-You could admire someone as a family man but not as a businessman.
-You might enjoy someones jokes at a BBQ but not during a board meeting.
-You may respect someone as a professional but not as a person.

The problem is- seems that everyone has a different idea of the blurred lines between the two. It appears that everyone in today’s workplace attended a different “Standard Business Practices 101” in College, rendering us in not only different pages, but entirely different books when it comes to these matters. This can be very frustrating! Bears to mention, of course, that looking inward has me even more frustrated in this area. Why am I so confident in ‘real life’ but lose it when it comes to a big meeting with the Big Dogs at the Big Ole Church where I work? Why do I trust my viewpoints in life, but not at work? Seems I have my own double standards going on.

So here’s the question- where are the lines in your life? Do you have the same confidence as a professional as you do in ‘real life’? Are you as trustworthy at work as you are as a friend? Are there people in your life that you like as a person, but not as a co-worker?

Last Names- A Wish List

Caroline’s recent book crush, author Lauren Winner, has got me thinking of last names. Since I am currently unmarried, (and don’t have a certain boy in mind that I’d like to hitch myself to permanently,) my future last name is still up for grabs. As someone who sees all things as opportunities, this gets me thinking. Wouldn’t it be a great strategic move to use this “new last name” thing for the greatest gain? Like, marry someone with a cool, funny, or random last name just for fun? Yes, this does really cross my mind. Therefore, when I meet someone with a cool last name, I can’t help but think…

Do they have a brother? 🙂

Here are some last names I’d love to get my hands on. (All real)

-Christina Nation (Christina Nation sounds like a SWEET PLACE!)
-Christina Winner (Lauren has got to feel good about herself in the morning with an affirmative last name like that)
-Christina Star
-Christina Fox
-Christina Speaks
-Christina Beach
-Christina Pigg (at least my middle name wouldn’t change to ISA- but still…)

Some names I would NOT like to marry into.

-Christina Butt (kids would get beaten up, for sure)
-Christina Lame (opposite of the daily affirmative, daily downer!)
-Christina Pain (If I became a doctor, kids would not want to come to me with this last name)
-Christina Fager (Couldn’t do this to my kids either)
-Christina Mrtwentyfourhours (oops, that’s not his real name, just what my co-workers call him… 😉 )
-Christina Lowersherstandards (just kidding- this one’s not real)

Any other last names I’m missing?

Days I hate being a girl (youth worker)

Christina here, guest-blogging for Caroline. An annoyance of today turned into a little bit of a rant, but it’s a glimpse into my life, so enjoy! Feel free to comment about what bugs you about being a girl today!

-Days when you’re in a business conversation with someone and they can’t keep their eyes off your chest. Even though you’re very modestly dressed. And your guy coworkers notice this exchange. Awkward and disgusting.
-Days when I can’t walk as fast as my (guy) coworkers because I like to wear heels and not tennis shoes
-Days when I have to worry about why the sophomore boys want to hug me.
-Days when I have to hear about pooping more than I’d like (aka any.)
-Days when we are going swimming and I have to spend lots of time finding a modest-enough swimsuit to be around high school boys. AKA usually a tank top and shorts. While my co-workers run around shirtless.
-Days when I start making lists in my head because the topic of conversation turns to MMA. Again. 🙂

There are also MANY days I absolutely love being a girl (youth worker.) But today is not necessarily one of those days.

Reflections on Samuel

1 Samuel 3:19 “The LORD was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of his words fall to the ground.”

Wow- what an incredible verse. I read this yesterday and I still haven’t gotten over it. I’m still trying to figure out what it means honestly. I keep thinking… what would it mean for none of His words to us to fall to the ground? How amazing would it be for us to take His words to heart (not head) and do what He says, transforming our lives. What would it mean for none of my words to fall to the ground, like Samuel? What would it mean for me to be so in tune with God’s Spirit that every word that comes out of my mouth makes him greater? What would it mean for us, as hearers of God’s Word, to take what he tells us and DO it.

During Jesus’ life- even at his trial, out of all the questions he was asked, he only answered two. In response to all their questions, he would only say that he was born to be a King, and that he was the Son of God. Jesus could see people’s hearts- and to what their genuine intentions were. At the trial, the intention of the people was to find fault in Him and find a reason for Him to die. He saw that these people had hard hearts to his gospel, and that they were not open to his life-giving words. Jesus also spoke in Parables, because it made his messages easier to remember, but they also communicated truth to believers but hid it from people with hard hearts.

In Matthew 13:15 Jesus says in regards to why He spoke in parables… For this people’s heart has become calloused;
they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.’

I fear that we say many empty words, have faith without works, knowledge without life-change. I fear that the Lord’s words fall to the ground with us as well- that we read our Bibles out of obligation and for a “nugget of truth” to get through the day. I pray that, like Samuel, we would truly understand what this life with Christ is about and DO it and that our words would reflect that. Let’s start with Acts 2:42-47 What would it look like if we actually changed our lives and were the church? What if we loved each other like this? Let these Words not fall to the ground, but let us be transformed by them, see with our eyes, hear with our ears, and understand with our hearts.


A week of tears

Hello long-lost friends! Christina here, your long lost other half of the foreign heart team. At least, I hope Caroline still considers me part of the team. I started a new journey about 4 1/2 months ago (quitting my job and getting a new one in youth ministry- ahh!) and it has changed my whole world. My life has turned upside down, and I wouldn’t want it to go back. But I do miss you all, and having time to talk to my dear sister every once and awhile…

Anyway- it’s been quite a week… kind of not in a good way. I’ve cried this week more times than I can count. Big, fat crocodile tears in the shower, in a meeting, and driving down the road. It’s just been one of those weeks. Started Sat. with some car troubles, but has continued into something that’s taken on a life of its own.

Honestly- I can’t remember a time that I have felt like this- so hopeless, so despondent, so free of true joy. I was trying to explain it to Tina on Tues. night and after awhile she just said- Christina, nothing you are saying is making sense. Are you sure you’re not being attacked? After trying to talk her out of this insane and frankly, offensive accusation for awhile, I realized she was right.

And why not? Why wouldn’t satan attack me with accusations of worthlessness, alone-ness, and sadness? Why wouldn’t satan whisper to me lies of discontentment, uneasiness, and distrust? Why wouldn’t he try and make me ineffective for God’s gospel and glory? When things at Valley Church are MOVING, when things are SHAKING up, when EXCITING things are happening, WHY WOULDN’T HE ATTACK THAT?

So I fight. For joy- for time with the Lord- for unity in our team.

Will you fight with me? Will you pray that God would continue to move mightily in Valley Church Student Ministries? Will you pray that satan’s attacks on our team would be useless? Would you pray that our staff retreat this weekend will sustain us and give us communication we desperately need? Would you pray that we would come back ready to fight for his kingdom?

Thank you, friends. I love you all.


Moonlight sledding, top ten lists and lots of coffee: snapshot into my week

Hello long lost friends!
I don’t have much time to write, but I thought I’d give you a quick snapshot into my week this week. We had an awesome moonlit sledding party…

I drank lots of coffee… between coffee dates with students, staff meetings, and the new coffee-shop like addition that was just added to my church, I have had to remind myself to drink water before working out because it’s mostly coffee flowing through these veins. Notice what’s in my hand…

And had a simply hilarious time with the rest of the student ministries staff. This is more the norm than the exception. Isn’t that great! I love how our offices are separated from the other church offices so we can be as loud and goofy as we want. Here’s one of the things that made me laugh out loud this week- my boss was working on this for Underground (Sunday School.)
Ahh, I love youth ministry. 🙂

Ten Christian Reality Shows that DIDN’T make it

10. Run and Not Grow Weary: contestants run continuously until all but one has grown weary

9. Catacomb Survivors: contestants fight rats, unending darkness, and slimy stuff as they try to outlast each other in a succession of big-city sewer systems

8. Crossover: contestants alter the lyrics of popular mainstream songs in an attempt to be the first to convince a Christian music station to play their Christianized song

7. American Idols: contestants take turns competing with modern-day prophets of Baal as they call down fire on alter sacrifices

6. Hour of Power: oh wait, that’s actual a reality show

5. BIG Brothers and Sisters: obese people from the same congregation use competing Christian weight-loss programs to see who can get in the best worship shape

4. So You Think You Can Pray?: contestants vie to see who can achieve the highest prayer-to-answer ratio

3. Big Name Pastor Apprentice: contestants try to win a spot on Joel Osteen’s pastoral staff by competing in preach-offs and book authoring deals

2. The Biggest Loser: contestants compete to see who can most thoroughly “lose their life” in order to “gain it”

1. The Courting Bachelor: male contestants compete to see who can convince Stacie Orrico’s parents to let him ‘court’ their daughter