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Introduction to the Chakras for Christians (and other nervous people)

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[Photo Credit—Claire L. Evans]

 

I have a weird mouth thing. I first noticed it the fall semester of my sophomore year of college. I took a required science class and we had to spit into a petri dish. I lost my shit. I started shaking and crying and I had to leave the lab.

I still don’t know how I passed that class. I’m certain I never spit on anything.

There was a drama class, too. I freaking love drama. Growing up, my Big Dream was to become a wildly successful Hollywood actress. My professor was my favorite. I even invited him to our wedding.

But he made us do these jaw exercises. We had to rapidly move our jaws up and down, gripping them between our fingers. Besides being slightly repulsed by the sight of my classmates whipping their jaws, I literally could not move mine. Again with the crying. Though more in control than I had been in science, I excused myself to the bathroom to take a moment to breathe.

I spent 2008 practicing moving my jaw. Massaging my throat and my chin, breathing deeply and as calmly as I could. With brute persistence, the problem got better. I can consciously relax my jaw now. And I can also rapidly move it up and down with my hands.

But the issue never completely dissipated. And it led me on a journey that I probably would not have ventured otherwise.

I started studying the chakras this year after a particularly nasty reminder that I still have a mouth-related phobia. I read about the fifth chakra, the one in the throat. This led me down all sorts of rabbits holes, from energy healing to visualization to manifesting our dreams.

I was wary, at first. I guess I still am. But I’m not scared anymore.

The thing about growing up, in any capacity, in Christian culture is that it comes with a certain amount of fear toward these kinds of things. This stuff may not be helpful for everyone. But it has been helpful for me. And I feel it’s been largely misrepresented in the Christian sphere. I’d like to do my part in changing that.

I was in Christian counseling for a while and I was voluntold to renounce “evil” things like yoga and meditation and tarot cards. Honestly, I still haven’t messed with tarot cards. But I’m not convinced they’re evil anymore.

I do think some things are evil. Murder. Rape. Abuse. Slavery. Racism. Sexism. I feel like these are the things Christians should be fighting. We’ve wasted a lot of time chasing phantom demons.

I’ve entered into these practices carefully and prayerfully. I don’t say that lightly. For me, the idea of chakras resonate because I feel like they speak to what Richard Rohr calls our True Self.

Chakras are essentially discs of energy that pulsate at places in our bodies. There are seven that I know of—I’ve heard people reference more, but I’ve never heard anyone name them.

I started reading Christiane Northrup’s Women’s Bodies, Women Wisdom in large part because of her chapter on chakras. I was so ready to receive brilliant insight about the pain I feel in my throat. To my extreme disappointment, she only covered the lower chakras at length. In all 745 pages, she dedicated a single paragraph to the throat chakra. She said that, as women, our biggest issues lie within our lower chakras.

Ultimately, this was helpful, because it forced me to do my own research. And I had a personal revelation about why I’ve struggled so much in this area and what I can do about it.

That is my hope for you in writing this post. If you are struggling in a particular area of your body, I pray that this introduction to the chakras sends you on a Wild Goose chase to find that which you are truly seeking.

From the Bottom Up

The Root Chakra

Every chakra has a color and the root is red. It’s located at the base of your spine, right at your tailbone. It’s also associated with your  legs, feet, bones, large intestine, and adrenal glands. It’s the chakra of safety and survival. It controls your fight or flight response. It has to do with how grounded we feel. If you have issues with money or food, this is the chakra to explore.

The Sacral Chakra

The sacral chakra is orange and it’s located about two inches below your belly button. It has implications for your lower abdomen, kidneys, bladder, circulatory system, and reproductive organs. It has to do with our creativity and sexuality. Our emotions (or lack thereof). It affects the way we perceive abundance, new experiences, and pleasure.

The Solar Plexus Chakra

The third chakra’s color is a bright, golden-yellow. It’s positioned right below our chest, in our upper abdomen. This is your digestive system, pancreas, muscles, and adrenals. It’s where you house your feelings about personal power and self-worth. It affects our ambition, our sense of direction in life, and how in control we feel in our daily lives.

The Heart Chakra

The heart chakra is green. It’s right in the middle of our upper chest. It’s associated with our heart, lungs, arms, hands, and thymus gland. This chakra is all about love, connection, relationships, and joy— and the way we feel about all of these things.

The Throat Chakra

This chakra is blue or turquoise and it’s located in our (surprise!) throat. It’s our neck, shoulders, mouth, jaw, ears, and thyroid glands. It has to do with how comfortable we are speaking our minds and our truth. Alternatively, it has implications for how well we listen and if we feel heard. It’s associated with healing, synthesizing ideas, creativity, transformation, and purification.

The Third Eye (or Brow) Chakra

The sixth chakra is indigo (red and blue, combined). It’s located in the middle of our foreheads, right above our eyes. It affects our vision, both literally and the ability to see the big picture. It holds our intuition, imagination, and our dreams (both sleeping and awake).

The Crown Chakra

The seventh chakra is violet (some sources say white). It’s located outside of your physical body, a few inches above the top of your head. It affects your brain, your central nervous system, and various psychological issues. This chakra is connected to spirituality—your relationship with a higher power. It also has to do with your divine purpose and your destiny.

Not that scary, right? When I was first learning and exploring, I created a little exercise where I lay down on my bed and meditatively, while breathing deeply and slowly, I put my hands on each chakra, one by one, and became aware of how each one felt to me. In preparation for this post, I repeated the exercise. It’s always enlightening.

For me, I have trouble experiencing my root chakra at all. When I think about it, I draw this most peculiar blank. When I explored my throat chakra today, it felt sore but healing. Which rings true to the work I’ve doing with it.

When I come down with a weird pain or itch, I Google it and add the word “chakra” at the end. I believe in the idea that our physical bodies are connected with our nonphysical issues. It helps me make connections and figure out the best path to healing.

One of the most empowering things I have learned is that almost everything can be an exercise in opening a specific chakra. Yoga is great for the lower chakras. Hard exercise and working toward a challenging (but doable) goal helps to open your solar plexus chakra. Visualization is great for the third eye chakra. Prayer and meditation, for your crown chakra. Vocal exercises or silence help your throat chakra. Spending time with a dear friend can help you open your heart chakra. One of the easiest things to do is to wear the color of the chakra you are focusing on healing.

I still have a weird mouth thing. I wouldn’t chew loudly around me if I were you, but it’s a lot better than it was. I’ve learned a lot about myself in this process. If you’ve been intrigued by the chakras, but nervous to really dig into the research, I hope this helps with the fear. If you have any questions about where to start—post in the comments and I’ll share my resources with you!

merawHi! I’m Brandy. I run this joint, and I’m so glad you’re here! I write here every weekday to share resources, love, and challenges for dreamers and creative healers. I’m aiming to hit that sweet spot between doing work you love, making the world a better place, and taking care of yourself in the process.

And if you really dig my style and my message, then you might want to consider signing up for my newsletter, Voice Lessons. Every Sunday, I write a love letter to all the people on that list, sharing stuff I don’t share with the world. I’ve even been known to give away entire eCourses for free.

All the love, friend. Thank you for stopping by! If you’d like to know more about me, you can read all my gory details here. I hope this post filled your day with a little extra awesome. Take good care.

What to Do When You Realize You’ve Gained Weight (Part Four)

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This is the last post in a series on loving your body when you realize you’ve gained a few pounds. You can click on these links to read parts One, Two, and Three.

 

So, I pretty much never do this. I used to do it all the time. Back in the day. And I still do it privately at least weekly. But these days, one of my biggest values is showing up. Doing what I say I’m going to do.

I don’t take sharing this lightly.

But I’m also in a kind of holding pattern. Waiting to hear back from The Washington Post. The last news I received was that they would let me know either way if they were interested in interviewing me in the next few weeks. Applying for that job changed me. And forced me to realize that regardless of whether or not I get the job, it’s time to revise. To cut away the fluff, channel Tara Mohr and start Playing Big.

I want to streamline, but I also don’t want to make any major changes until I receive word from the Post. Maybe I’m superstitious. I don’t want to count the chickens that may not hatch. I want to keep my mind and spirit open to the Universe granting me this dream job without beginning to execute the Backup Plan just yet.

That has to do with this because it’s the next month of my life. I decided that while I was holding on, and since this is my Year of Healing, I would create a mini-plan. A “For the Next Month” plan.

The thing I never do? Share grand plans like these publicly.

I spent some time this morning audio journaling (aka talking to myself while pretending I’m on the phone) about where I want to be health-wise five years from now.

I’ll be 38!

Holy.

Okay, let’s see.

I want to love being 38.

I want to feel comfortable in my own skin.

I want to take radically good care of my body, mind, and spirit.

I want to be over the hump of this mountain of food addiction I’ve been climbing for most of my life.

I want to instill body positive health and vitality values into my children.

I want to be a sexy 38-year-old!

I want to strong.

I want to be able to run for miles.

I want to be fast.

I want to impress people with my speed and agility.

I want to eat foods that nourish my body.

I want to relish the cooking/preparation process.

I want to feel like I have the time and energy to eat healthfully.

I want to be an advocate for Food Justice.

I want to practice yoga and Zumba daily.

I want to solidify my daily meditation ritual.

I want my skin to glow.

I want healthy innards.

But I also want to love my stretch marks, the dimples on my thighs, and the scars that make my body beautiful and unique.

I want it all to be fun and funny.

Hysterical.

I want to laugh myself, with love. I want to I feel vibrantly alive.

That’s basically my five-year plan, wrapped in a bow of flowery language. To get there, I’m going to start small. But I can’t really deal with taking it one day at a time. It makes the big picture thinker in me go all Grumpy Cat. So, I’m going to start with the next month.

Here’s my plan.

The First Part is time management focused. 

I’m waiting to hear if I got my dream job. But I’ve made a commitment to blog every weekday for the rest of the year and I’m currently teaching two classes + writing a book. And I do this stuff with a little one at home. So, right now, it’s not feasible to take on anymore Shalom Sessions or bio clients. I’m going to shut down that aspect of my business this week so that I can focus all of my energy on my writing and teaching projects (along with my cute little dude, of course).

I’ve decided that looks like this—

6am—wake up, take the dog out, wake my daughter up for school, eat breakfast and relish coffee.

7am—get to work! Write that day’s post, 1500ish words toward my book, the updates and prompts for my classes that day, and any other writing projects I have that week (like newsletters, invocations for my church’s Sunday service, etc).

8:30amish—Brooklyn wakes up, so I’ll take a break to make him breakfast and then I’ll set him up with some kind of independent activity.

12pm—finish all my work by noon. Make lunch for BK and me and then do something fun together—go to the playground, watch a movie, do yoga, etc.

2pmish—naptime. And I’m technically done for the day. I’ll use this time to chill out or do whatever household stuff needs to be done.

3pm—Sadie gets home from school. I really want to be present with her when she gets home. Especially if I’m about to start a full-time job outside of our home. If we only have two or three weeks left of me being home when she gets home, I would like to make them count.

4pm—time to work out. I much prefer exercising in the afternoon/evenings. And this time is perfect because my work day will be done and it won’t cut into time to spend with Jermaine.

The Second Part is food-focused.

Starting Thursday, I will begin a 30-day DIY detox. Last month, I attempted at 10-day detox, but I only made it nine days. The last time I tried to do a 30 day detox, at the beginning of this year, I stopped around day 20. It feels important to me to successfully complete a whole detox before the end of the year. I wouldn’t recommend it for everyone, especially friends who have a history of ED, but for me, finishing what I started in this specific realm has a lot to do with overcoming my own food addictions.

I am still working out the details. Last time I did a combination of the the 10-Day Detox Diet and the Whole30. I think this one will look similar. But I think I want to give myself more space for “cheating”, within some parameters.

So, for example, the Whole30 is basically grass-fed/organic, lean meats, healthy fats, and lots and lots of veggies and fruits. The 10-Day Detox Diet is similar in content but much more specific with the recipes. The 10-Day Detox adds in more self-kindness practices, like meditation and detox baths. But it also eliminates coffee and calls for a media fast.

I cannot detox from sugar AND caffeine and hope to keep up with my workload, so I know I’m going to allow myself one or two cups of black coffee a day. Alcohol is off-limits in both plans, and I’ve abstained in past detoxes, but I think one of my “cheats” this time is going to be to allow myself a glass of organic red wine in the evening if I want one.

A short list of what I’m cutting out: bread/grain/gluten, dairy, sugar, processed foods, and “legumes” or beans, including peanuts. There’s a lot of research on the why these things. At first, I wasn’t one board with all of it, but having read up, I think I understand more now. I don’t like the attitude of the creators of the Whole30—they are very, “DON’T EFFING CHEAT. STICK WITH THE PLAN OR ELSE.” I don’t respond well to that stuff and I feel like it can be very triggering if you’ve struggled with ED. So, for me, the 10-Day Detox part is really mostly about self-kindness. But I also feel that sticking to the plan—whatever plan you create—for 30 days can go a long way in the fight against food addiction.

I’m considering adding a small piece of dark chocolate to my plan. My only concern is that, for me, it’s easier sometimes to abstain fully than to practice moderation. If I have dark chocolate in the house, I might eat it! And the most important thing I want to detox from is sugar. But I have two days to decide.

I chose Thursday because I once read that the best time of the month to detox is the the first day of the new moon. I tried it last month and it worked pretty well for me. As a woman and an intuitive, I follow the phases of the moon closely because I believe we have different strengths and weaknesses at different times of the month, according to our cycles.

In the future, I want to consider a vegetarian and possibly even vegan thing. But that’s not where I am right now. And that’s okay. The thing I like about the Whole30 is that you can eat as much as you like. Seriously. I didn’t know know that the first time around and was still trying to count calories. I don’t recommend it. I was hungry all the time. This last time, eating until I wasn’t hungry anymore, it was so much easier to stick to it. It did not feel like I was depriving myself and I still lost weight—and several people remarked that my skin was glowing.

I don’t eat a lot of processed food right now, so that wasn’t a big deal for me with this. If that’s a struggle for you, and you’re considering a plan like this, you may want to modify it even further or shorten the length of the detox. I’ve detoxed from aspartame and high fructose corn syrup before. That stuff is no joke—and it will leave you in withdraw.

That’s it, I think! Except that I would really really like to hear your plan, if you made one, according to your unique life circumstances. Email me or share in a comment below and we can keep track of each others’ marvelous successes!

merawHi! I’m Brandy. I run this joint, and I’m so glad you’re here! I write here every weekday to share resources, love, and challenges for dreamers and creative healers. I’m aiming to hit that sweet spot between doing work you love, making the world a better place, and taking care of yourself in the process!

And if you really dig my style and my message, then you might want to consider signing up for my newsletter, Voice Lessons. Every Sunday, I write a love letter to all the people on that list, sharing stuff I don’t share with the world. I’ve even been known to give away entire eCourses for free.

All the love, friend. Thank you for stopping by! If you’d like to know more about me, you can read all my gory details here. I hope this post filled your day with a little extra awesome. Take good care.

Monday Memoirs :: The Story I’ve been Writing All My Life

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Pictured above: My mom and me shortly after she brought me home, and several months before the adoption was finalized.

I’m trying to remember. The girl I was, five years ago. Sliding into my senior year of college completely exhausted.

My best friend had just been assigned her first foster care placement and I couldn’t not go. It didn’t matter that she lived three hours away and school started on Monday. It didn’t matter that I’d promised another friend I’d move-out clean her apartment that Sunday. It didn’t matter that DC traffic is a living beast. Andrea was about to step into the chasm of a brand new dream. It was my duty as bestest to witness it. And I had a bit of baby fever, too.

I was coming up on five years drug-free. I was about to finish college! I was married to the kindest, funniest, cutest guy in the world. Things that had been impossible a half a decade before were now daily realities. I had to tell someone. I had to get it all out on paper.

“Listen, you guys!” I wanted to belt out on the street corners, “If I can do it, anyone can! I’m the girl with no follow through. I’m the perpetual dreamer! And here I am, living my dreams. Let me tell you this story. It’s a good one.”

There was a dark side, though. Jermaine had been unemployed for four months. We were living in an apartment we couldn’t afford. I had gained 50 pounds. I was living a dream but sometimes it felt a little like purgatory. It made me feel I’d done something terribly wrong. That perhaps the sins from my past were too big to be fully reconciled. The only thing I knew to do was to try too hard.

That was the week I started my memoir. I’d been talking about it for a few months, but you can only say “I’m going to write a book” for so long before you have to either shut up or put the damn pen to paper. I stole away in Borders (oh, gosh. I miss Borders), coffee in hand, and wrote the first paragraphs of this impossible dream.

I’d never written a book before and the only place I could see to start was the beginning. I’m adopted. It made sense to tell my moms’ stories first. I hadn’t written very much before tears were streaming down my face.

My biological mom sacrificed so much to ensure I could have a better chance than she felt she could give me. My biological dad was, apparently, a jack-ass. She made $3 an hour at McDonalds. She was seven months into her pregnancy before she decided to put me up for adoption. When I was born, the nurse didn’t know she wasn’t keeping me. She brought me into the hospital room so my mom could hold me.

I cannot imagine how hard that must have been.

My adoptive mom worked in the same hospital. She remembers the day I was born. She never saw me, but someone from maternity came down to her unit gushing about a little girl who was up for adoption.

My parents went through the initial steps to adopt a baby girl in 1975. I was born in 1981. They didn’t bring me home until March of 1982.

Seven years.

For three of those years, they were first on the list. And they didn’t choose adoption until seven years after my brother was born.

“She looks just like a little pappoose!” The woman exclaimed. Generally speaking, you couldn’t adopt from the same county you lived in. My mom did not waste time getting her hopes up.

My hands shook and wiped away the tears on my face. I’d never done the math. I couldn’t catch my breath. So much sacrifice. All I could think about was all the horrible things I’d done. The whole reason I was writing this memoir. I’d had third, fourth, and fifth chances. And I didn’t deserve any of it.

I’m a doer. I’ve spent the past 10 years finishing almost everything I started. In some ways, it’s my penitence for being such a massive wreck in my early 20s. But I love it, too. It feels good to do what I say I’m going to do.

I have a few projects, though, that make me feel like I’m attempting to live out the official definition of “insane”. I keep trying, over and over again. I never seem to get very far past the starting line.

Here we are, another five years down the road. I have 75,000+ words toward this impossible book and it’s not even close to finished.

My memoir is impossible. But that makes sense. Who on earth needs to write a memoir in her late 20s or early 30s? No one, probably. Or everyone.

My life is unfinished (thank God). And yet, Something compels me to narrate the chapters thus far. And so, I oblige. I do the work. Sometimes inconsistently. But 50 words is better than none. I honestly feel like there’s a chance I could write this whole thing out and never to publish it. I don’t understand my muse. I have no idea where she’s going with this.

But I trust her. And that feels like enough right now.

merawHi! I’m Brandy. I run this joint, and I’m so glad you’re here! I write here every weekday to share resources, love, and challenges for dreamers and creative healers. I’m aiming to hit that sweet spot between doing work you love, making the world a better place, and taking care of yourself in the process!

Every Monday, I share an excerpt from my memoir. Working diligently behind the scenes to put it all together by the end of this year. My prayer is that it sets up like some kind of gorgeous word soufflé.

And if you really dig my style and my message, then you might want to consider signing up for my newsletter, Voice Lessons. Every Sunday, I write a love letter to all the people on that list, sharing stuff I don’t share with the world. I’ve even been known to give away entire eCourses for free.

All the love, friend. Thank you for stopping by! If you’d like to know more about me, you can read all my gory details here. I hope this post filled your day with a little extra awesome. Take good care.

How to Apply for Your Dream Job

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>>YEP. ^That’s my resumé. Design credit goes to the one and only Jermaine Walker.

I share dreams like people share news.

It started two Wednesdays ago. Someone posted in a writing group I’m in that The Washington Post was hiring a religion writer to join their social justice team. I jumped on the ceiling for joy. I called Jermaine, my mom, my two best friends, my mother-in-law, my birth mom, and a couple of people I met one time.

The Post is hiring a religion writer for their social justice team! I am going to apply my heart out! Please please please pray for me and this job!”

I got off the phone and went to the library. Plunking down in the “job hunting” section, I went through every book on that shelf, eventually choosing my favorite nine. My daughter had an MRI that evening, so I sat in the waiting room and took in all I could from those books. What to wear to an interview. Things you should never ever say. How to write a cover letter that will actually be read. I ate it up like manna from heaven.

The next morning, I woke up early and got to work—cleaning. I went from room to room clearing clutter, dusting, wiping away the grime. It was part of the process. I felt it, intuitively. I was about to birth something from the deepest parts of my creative belly. I needed to nest first.

I kept reading. Thinking. Dreaming. How best to do this? On Friday, it hit me. We could create a resumé designed like a page in the newspaper!

I am not a designer. But this! The details. That’s Jermaine’s speciality.

Saturday morning, we put our heads down and started chipping away at it. I crafted a shitty first draft of the most important cover letter I will ever write. He redesigned The Washington Post. I wanted to finish by Sunday evening, but it was soon clear that wasn’t going to happen. All in all, we spent 30 hours over three days.

We make an epic team, even though (or perhaps because) we are so different. I was ready to call it a day by hour 20, but he was not satisfied. By Monday night, we were both exhausted. But I think the results spoke for themselves. We’d given birth to one hell of a job application.

On Tuesday morning, I emailed the hiring manager my full presentation. I don’t have any concrete good or bad news yet. I’ve done all I can do, and now I can only practice the excruciating art of waiting patiently.

But, something has shifted inside of me. Birth, even the creative, non-baby variety, changes you. You can’t help it.

Even if I don’t get this job—and I hope I do!—it may be time for a change. I’ve been in business for myself for almost four years. And I love the work that I do. I love writing whatever the hell I want. I love teaching classes that inspire people to love themselves and to write their heart out. I love writing bios! I love the letters I’ve received confirming that this work I’m doing, it means something.

And I am not ready to stop pursuing my BIG DREAMS—getting published, speaking on stages all over the world, getting paid well to use my gifts. But I’m starting to wonder if entrepreneurship might be the first leg of this grand journey, instead of the journey itself.

When I first heard about this job, my daydreams transported me to future, what it would look like to work there in 10 years. Besides running my own business, this is the first position I’ve ever considered settling into for a decade or more!

So, regardless of what happens, I think that’s my new gauge. When I find a new potential gig, can I see myself there in 2024? Can I see myself there as a mom of a teenage boy (oh God) and an adult daughter (oh GOD)? If I can, it’s worth applying. It’s worth giving my all.

Because my all is a pretty damn good gift. So, even in the midst of the, “Who am I to apply for such an amazing job?” questions from my inner jerk, I can hold onto that. And trust that no matter where this new shift takes me, I’ll land somewhere incredible, full of new and exciting challenges.

merawHi! I’m Brandy. I run this joint, and I’m so glad you’re here! I write here every weekday to share resources, love, and challenges for dreamers and creative healers. I’m aiming to hit that sweet spot between doing work you love, making the world a better place, and taking care of yourself in the process! I hope this post inspires you to reach out and grab your big dreams. Regardless of the inner jerk in your head. Because your all is a pretty damn good gift, too. 

If you really dig my style and my message, then you might want to consider signing up for my newsletter, Voice Lessons. Every Sunday, I write a love letter to all the people on that list, sharing stuff I don’t share with the world. I’ve even been known to give away entire eCourses for free.

All the love, friend. Thank you for stopping by! If you’d like to know more about me, you can read all my gory details here. I hope this post filled your day with a little extra awesome. Take good care.

Week Seven :: On Love and Punishment

Brandy Blogs the Bible

 

The Paraphrase (Exodus 29-40)

The Skinny:

Chapter 29—God gives Moses detailed (and graphic) instructions on how to consecrate Aaron and his sons. The last part of the chapter explains how to slaughter lambs as offerings so that God will dwell with the people.

Chapter 30—More instructions: the Altar of Incense, money from men once they come of age, a basin for washing, anointing oil and incense (fabulous holy perfume lovingly made by a perfumer that is not to be used for any other reason).

Chapter 31—God calls two guys out, Bezalel and Oholiab, and fills them with the Spirit of God (the first reference of God’s Spirit). Also, a word about the importance of keeping the sabbath.

Chapter 32—Scene shift to the base of the mountain. The people, anxious because they don’t know what is taking Moses so long, decide to craft their own god—a calf made out of their gold jewelry. God is so angry with them and wants to destroy all of them. Moses pleads with God on their behalf. And God changed God’s mind. Moses leaves the top of the mountain with all the instructions he’s just received on two stone tablets. But when he sees the people worshipping the calf, he loses it, and breaks the tablets into pieces. He melts down the calf, grinds it into a powder of ashes, puts it in water and makes the people drink it. Finally, in anguish, he throws up his hands and asks, “Who is with God?” The sons of Levi gather around him. He commands them to kill the other people. 3000 people die. Moses goes back up to the top of the mountain. God punishes the rest of the people with a plague—because of the calf Aaron made.

Chapter 33—God is so mad he tells the people to go ahead to the promised land, but that God is not coming, because they’re a “stiff-necked” people and if God comes God will probably end up killing them all. Moses has a unique and bold dialogue with the Lord and talks the deity into coming.

Chapter 34—New stone tablets are made, with the laws and the covenant renewed. Moses’s face begins to radiate from spending so much time with God.

Chapter 35—Moses gathers the people together and they get to work making the tabernacle. Bezalel, with God’s Spirit, becomes a skilled artisan in every kind of craft—from gold, silver, and bronze, to stone and carving wood. Oholiab, with God’s spirit, becomes a designer, embroiderer, and a weaver of fine linen.

Chapter 36—These two, along with every skilled artisan in the group, begin building the tabernacle.

Chapter 37—They make the Ark of the Covenant, the Table for the Bread of the Presence, the Lampstand, the Altar of Incense, the anointing oil and the incense.

Chapter 38—They make the Altar of Burnt Offering and the Court of the Tabernacle. And then there’s a little piece about all the materials used within the Tabernacle. 

Chapter 39—They make the Vestments for the Priesthood, gorgeous and intricate clothes. The finishing touches are put on and the work is completed.

Chapter 40—God tells Moses the specific day the Tabernacle is supposed to go up—the first day of the first month. God goes on to give detailed instructions on how to begin the whole thing. And Moses listened. The cloud of God covered the tent of meeting and the Glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. At night, the cloud contained fire. God was with them.

My own random thoughts

The Holy Spirit makes an entrance

I love firsts. And I took notice when I discovered this first (my friend, James-Michael, told us in the Bible study he led several years ago). What’s even more interesting is who gets to be filled—artists! Sometimes we think of art as nonessential and frivolous. Not so. These artists get God’s wisdom, understanding, and ability in every craft. Gosh, I love that.

A word about detail

One of the unique attributes about this Hebrew God is that this God dwells with the people. God is telling them how to make God’s throne. And it’s a tent! Not only is it modest, it’s mobile! God goes with the people. God leads them, interacts with them. This is kind of a big deal.

I think it’s a way God expresses extravagant Love. All the fuss. It’s important. And necessary. There’s a great example in the Gospels, where the woman comes and pours perfume on Jesus’s feet. His disciples don’t get it. They think it’s a waste. He does, though. And he is moved by her gift (which is, funnily, also holy perfume).

A little side story

A couple of years ago, my daughter was away, visiting her birth dad, and I promised her I’d send her cookies. Days passed and for whatever reason, the cookies didn’t get sent. I made a batch and they went bad before I could send them. I finally finished a second batch. I decorated the big ones with her favorite frosting and added sprinkles because I know she loves them. I went to the post office to send them. I had to overnight them so they’d get to her on time (before she came back to Maryland)! It ended up costing $25. $25 to mail cookies! We didn’t have that. I thought about it while I stood in line to ship them. Should I do this? It seemed almost ridiculously wrong. But, deep down in my gut I felt this tug toward Extravagant Love. Yes, it was silly. But I don’t get the opportunity to love like this everyday. And so I plunged into the silliness for Love’s sake.

Well, it ended up becoming somewhat of a nightmare for my dad, who had to drive all over town looking for the post office that they’d been shipped to the next day. It made him late picking Sadie up, and very very frazzled. Some of the cookies broke and stuck together. Even the tin broke! I felt so bad. And foolish.

Then, my mom, who would have ordinarily turned up her nose at the amount I spent to mail the cookies, lovingly offered to pay for them. And so, a Cookie Near Fiasco turned into two different opportunities for Extravagant Love. And, of course, Sadie didn’t care that they were broken. She said they tasted delicious.

The golden calf

Oh my. This story is hard on many levels. I’ve read this story many many times, and what always strikes me the most is not the people’s disobedience, but God’s (and Moses’) anger. Because I believe that God is loving, kind, and forgiving. And because shortly after this whole horrible scene, we have God’s “self-revelation” proclaiming that God is indeed all of those things. Right after all these people were killed (by the swords of the people who were “for the Lord”).

And I get it, intellectually. I get that the construction of the calf a screaming lack of faith. I get that what God was telling Moses on that mountain was extremely holy and important. And they did one of the very things God explicitly told them not to—the one, in fact, that God warned against.

But, still, the punishment is harsh. How do you reconcile with the God of the Old Testament with a God that is kind and forgiving?

These are the questions I’ve spent the last five+ years wrestling. These are the questions that kept me from finishing this project the first time. The ones that inspired me to quit seminary. Twice.

I still don’t have a perfect answer. I’m still wrestling. But I think that’s okay. I think God invites us to wrestle sometimes. Even if that fight eventually destroys our belief system. I think God that would rather we have honest doubt than blind faith. That’s the best I can do right now. And it’s enough.

Thank you for reading. So much love.

 

merawHi! I’m Brandy. I run this joint, and I’m so glad you’re here! I write here every weekday to share resources, love, and challenges for dreamers and creative healers. I’m aiming to hit that sweet spot between doing work you love, making the world a better place, and taking care of yourself in the process!

Every Thursday, I blog through the Bible—trying to get through the whole thing in the next two years. If you found this post interesting and helpful and you’d like to continue to follow along as I go through, you can read the intro to this project, along with week one, the detour we took into original sin, week two, week threeweek fourweek five, and week sixNext week, we’ll start Leviticus, so read chapters 1-14.

And if you really dig my style and my message, then you might want to consider signing up for my newsletter, Voice Lessons. Every Sunday, I write a love letter to all the people on that list, sharing stuff I don’t share with the world. I’ve even been known to give away entire eCourses for free.

All the love, friend. Thank you for stopping by! If you’d like to know more about me, you can read all my gory details here. I hope this post filled your day with a little extra awesome. Take good care.

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