A new thing

Thanks to years of coaching — starting with my mom reminding my 10-year-old self to sit up straight and maintain eye contact when I applied for my first volunteer position, to professors with years of experience offering tips to classes of soon-to-be graduates — I’ve become very good at interviews. I’ve only landed interviews for a fraction of the jobs I’ve applied for, but I have yet to interview without ultimately receiving a job offer. I’m well-trained and thoroughly practiced in the art of selling my skills, putting a positive spin on my weaknesses, asking the right questions to impress an interviewer, and in the moment, I feel nothing but confidence in my words.

After every interview, however, I find myself almost as worried about getting the job as I do about not getting it. What if I overestimated or oversold myself? What if I show up and fail miserably and they realize they made a huge mistake in hiring me? What if I have no idea what I’m doing?

Previously, after the requisite disorientation that comes with any transition job-related or otherwise, I’ve managed to ease fairly comfortably and quickly into my new roles. Today, though, starting my new job at a magazine publishing company, I found myself thrown for a bit of a loop. Within minutes of arriving, I had four considerably large projects on my plate and no idea where to start with any of them. I barely even understood the jargon flying around the office. I’m far from inexperienced, but my particular experiences were, by and large, not especially applicable to anything I was assigned, and it certainly didn’t help that I was sick. I felt more like a fish out of water than I ever have in a professional setting — funny, since magazine publishing is the setting I’ve been aspiring to since my sophomore year of college. This was exactly the experience I’ve feared.

And yet, while this sort of baptism by fire is unquestionably daunting, what I felt was not discouragement, but exhilaration. Where I expected stress, I experienced near-euphoria. I’m certainly humbled, but I have not lost faith in myself. I’m not dismayed by how little I know; I’m excited about how much I get to learn.

This difference, I suppose, comes from facing these challenges in a context I’ve been pursuing for the last several years, because it means I will find purpose in the hurdles I’ll have to overcome in the upcoming days or weeks or months.

So praise God for opportunity and difficulty alike, for the passion he has given me, and for his grace when my strength is sure to be insufficient. I can’t wait to see what he’ll continue to do in the midst of this new adventure.

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A new thing

Little thoughts: On people who are “worse”

Part of a series. From my Moleskine, April 6.

We talk about how Jesus spent time with the “worst of the worst,” as though that was the greatest example of his grace, of how we should be unafraid to reach out to people who are “worse” than us.

But while there’s certainly a lesson to be learned from that example, when that’s our emphasis, we gloss over that Jesus also spent time with the everyday “nice” people, who from an absolute perspective are no better than anyone else.

Maybe that’s the real example we should be following. Don’t go around talking only about how gracious it is that Jesus would spend time with “them”; talk about and be humbled by the fact that Jesus, in his holiness, would even spend time with you.

It’s not just that his grace is great enough for “even” the prostitutes and tax collectors. It’s that they are no less deserving of his grace than anyone else.

Little thoughts: On people who are “worse”

Little thoughts: On being a sci-fi/fantasy fan

The first in a series. From my Moleskine, April 1.

Love fantasy, but don’t entangle it with reality. Part of the beauty of fantasy is that it is so “other” from reality. Believe it, and believe reality, too, but believe them apart from one another.

Fantasy is possibility. It’s hope. It’s escape. It transports. It can’t be or do those things if we merge it with the already-concrete.

Little thoughts: On being a sci-fi/fantasy fan

Something new

I have continued to struggle with writing complete posts consistently. This is mainly due to my own insecurities, the origins of which I’m still trying to figure out. Until I’m able to do that and confront whatever is making me hold myself back, I’m going to change my approach a bit, to spare myself the self-imposed guilt of not writing more regularly.

For Christmas, I got a new Moleskine that has gone with me everywhere. In it, I’ve been jotting down short notes on any and every topic that happens to pop into my head. I’m going to start posting these, in hopes that maybe I’ll inspire myself to turn them into more developed thought projects and consequently more detailed posts later. I’ll file these under a new category titled “Little thoughts.”

I will greatly welcome comments on these posts; feedback and discussion are my greatest tools when it comes to shaping my ideas.

Here’s to experiments!

Something new

In my own words

I have this strange tendency to undermine the worth of my own words. I’m aware that plenty of people are smarter and more articulate than I am, and for some reason I feel that because those people exist, they have a greater right to speak up. Surely someone else has had the same ideas I do, and surely they could express those ideas better, so it seems presumptuous for me to take that expression upon myself.

It feels selfish.

I realize this is silly. There’s space enough for all our ideas and all our articulations and interpretations of those ideas. I am not depriving someone else of their opportunity to speak if I speak myself; but if I don’t speak, I’m depriving myself of my own voice.

In my own words

And now for something different!

Hey everyone! This week I had the honor of writing a guest post on the meaning of “home” for my friend Melissa Gutierrez. We were honors program classmates and coworkers on our school’s magazine. I’d love for you to check out the post — and while you’re there, take a look at Melissa’s own stuff (and how about clicking that Follow button while you’re at it?). I can honestly say she’s one of the most talented writers I’ve had the privilege of knowing, and it is similarly a privilege to steal some space on her blog.

And now for something different!

So this happened

Tonight on my dinner break, I was wandering around downtown, as I usually do.

As I neared one of the theaters, I noticed the block in front of it had been barricaded off, and a crowd of people lined a row of gates. Inside those gates was a backdrop and a cluster of photographers.

I had completely forgotten it’s film festival week.

The marquee above the theater boldly proclaimed “Montecito Award: Daniel Day-Lewis.”

I found my way to a gap at the edge of the gates, and there, indeed, not 10 feet away, stood Danny Flynn/Daniel Plainview/Abraham Lincoln himself, looking every bit as classy-yet-slightly-edgy in person as in pictures.

Sadly, I was too taken by surprise to think to get a picture of my own before he was ushered away.

But I can now say, “Oh, I was taking a stroll on my break and happened upon Daniel Day-Lewis walking a red carpet.”

So this happened