Don’t Be the Next _____

By Posted in - General on May 15th, 2015 54 Comments

IMG_2335I keep hearing things like, “He’s the next Rob Bell.”

“She’s the new Beth Moore.”

“She’s a female Donald Miller.”

“He’s a young Dallas Willard.”

“She’s the next Anne Lamott.”

I get it, what people are saying when they say things like that. They’re trying to describe a certain potential, more ‘this’ than ‘that,’ to define trajectory and tone. They’re trying to pay a compliment–they’re saying, “I think you could do what that amazing person has done.”

But there are at least two problems with this way of speaking: first, there is already one Rob Bell. And he’s great at what he does. There is a Beth Moore, and she’s amazing. Let’s not communicate to them that they’re factory models, a dime a dozen, with newer, younger versions of the same nipping at their heels.

There will never be another Dallas Willard. There will never be another Anne Lamott. These are individual people with stories and families and quirks, not types and caricatures, but we make them that, when we talk about them like products. They’re not products, and they’re not replicable. They’re unique voices that God has used in extraordinary ways, and we minimize that when we talk about them like types, not people.

And what you’re saying to someone, when you tell him he’s the next so-and-so, is that there’s a slot you think he can slip into, if he tries hard enough. There’s an identity he can put on like a necktie. Just occupy this person’s voice and identity, and all will be well.

No. All will not be well. We don’t need more of them. We need more of you. God is using so many people in such beautiful ways, but we absolutely don’t need replicas of them. We need you: your voice, your uniqueness, your magic.

And we lose your magic when you lay it down in order to imitate someone else. We lose your voice, your perspective, your story, your strengths, your weaknesses, your dreams, your secrets.

Don’t be the next anybody. Be deeply, weirdly, completely, totally you.

Why do I care so deeply about this? Why does the hair on the back of my neck stand up when someone says, “He’s the next Billy Graham?”

Because some of the hardest work I’ve done in my life is fighting to believe that God’s not asking me to be the next anyone–not the next Bill Hybels, not the next Lynne Hybels. Not the next whoever. God’s asking me to be an entirely new thing, never before, never again. My parents’ daughter, of course, one thousand percent, but not their replica.

You were not made to be a clone or a replica or a version 2.0 of what God’s already done. You were made to be only you, with all the limitations and triumphs contained within that.

And so, on a cloudy Friday morning in May, my dear friends, promise me that you’ll be you–deeply, weirdly, totally you, not the next _____.

That’s where life is. That’s where freedom is. That’s where peace is.

XO–S

 

On Narrowing

By Posted in - Books & Family & Writing on April 24th, 2015 56 Comments

Happy Friday, my friends. It’s almost noon, and I’m typing away, surrounded by scribbles and scraps of paper, drinking Irish Breakfast tea, blasting Alabama Shakes.

After about six weeks away from working on Present Over …

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A film called NOBLE

By Posted in - General on April 16th, 2015 4 Comments

 

 

Hi, pals! It’s been ages. It’s almost like I went out of the country, launched a book, did one million radio interviews, spring-breaked with Aaron and the boys, and then last minute flew away …

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You Are Enough

By Posted in - General on February 26th, 2015 32 Comments

My dear friend Margaret bought me this little plate years ago, and I keep it on our bathroom counter. It holds my wedding rings at night, so I see it twice a day, when …

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20 Books

By Posted in - Books on February 21st, 2015 60 Comments

One thing you must know about me: I’m a reader. Like a voracious, crazy, whenever-I-have-two-minutes, books-are-my-oxygen reader. I met a new friend recently, a writer friend, and in the middle of a party, we …

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Use Your Words

By Posted in - General on January 27th, 2015 58 Comments

 

Last week in Phoenix I ran into a friend I haven’t seen for years. He influenced me very deeply in all sorts of ways in one particular season of life, and then there he …

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Stocking the Pond

By Posted in - Writing on January 13th, 2015 47 Comments

After I dropped Mac off at preschool this morning, I Skyped into my friend Jessica’s fifth grade class. They’re working on narrative writing and wanted to talk to a real live writer. They asked fantastic questions …

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Burn the Candles

By Posted in - General on January 5th, 2015 89 Comments

Happy New Year! I’m one of those people who loves resolutions. I make like a million a year. I make them in January. I make them on Tuesdays and in the summer, and in the …

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10 Christmas Favorites

By Posted in - Life on December 3rd, 2014 14 Comments

I really do love the Christmas season–how it pares things down to their essence: the God of the Universe coming to earth in skin, changing everything. I’m thankful for Advent–that our faith tradition makes space for …

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Glimpse

By Posted in - General on November 11th, 2014 26 Comments

 

You know, of course, that I’m trying to learn a new rhythm of living, that I’ve been inching my way into it for two years, that I’m writing a book about that fumbling process.

Let …

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Pumpkin Curry

By Posted in - General on October 21st, 2014 14 Comments IMG_5288

 

Oh, heavens, how long has it been since I’ve posted a recipe? I’ve been working on lots of new recipes, but they’re mostly for Savor–it has more than 20 recipes in it. And the …

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Using Technology to Connect

By Posted in - General on October 13th, 2014 19 Comments

As I’ve said before, I’m so not anti-technology—I love Instagram, & so much of my job involves the lovely wild odd world of the internet. At the same time, I’ve been having lots of conversations lately …

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SIMPLIFY Giveaway Winners!

By Posted in - General on August 21st, 2014 4 Comments

Congratulations to these twenty lucky people! The publishing team will send you an email soon to get your mailing address & then your book will be on its way…

1. Nancy Smith
2. Rhonda Roberts
3. Maggie Broderick
4. …

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