About the Author

Crystal is passionate about cultivating a community where faith, fitness, and friendship come together. Author of “Creative Basics: 30 Days to Awesome Social Media Art,” Crystal is a writer, speaker, host of the Write 31 Days challenge, and coach who shares encouragement at her blog, crystalstine.me. Connect with her on...

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  1. Chapter 1: From page 34, what does it mean for you to sit down on the inside?

    It is ingrained in me to quickly move from recognizing problems to *trying* to fix them. (If I see that I cannot fix them, I give up.) To sit down on the inside, for me, means to recognize a problem and be with God there.

    Chapter 2: How is your faith challenged differently during moments of crisis versus moments of ordinary time?

    In both times, there is a fear of not measuring up—a self-imposed pressure to live up to every moment.

    Chapter 3: In what ways are you standing at a gate or living in a cul-de-sac?

    I am standing at a gate in my job and living in a cul-de-sac in realizing who I am.

  2. Chapter 1: “To sit down on the inside” for me implies being present for my people — really listening and not trying to insert my “theology of fixing things” into the equation.

    Chapter 2: We’ve had so much crisis over the last 5 years in our family. I think I’ve given up on being normal. Crazy is our normal, really. For me, it’s easier to exercise my faith when I am in a needy place, but then when things get back to routine, I tend to get the “spiritual blahs.” My worship is less intimate, and I struggle to really connect (especially in the morning during my quiet time when I am more asleep than awake!). One thing that I do during “ordinary time” is ask God to help me hear His voice. I ask HIm to help me see the beauty in my ordinary (and in my crazy). I’ve started listening to some worship music every morning to start my day before I get out of bed, and this really helps me to “wake up” spiritually before I start my day.

    Chapter 3: I am a late bloomer. I got married in my 40’s after being professionally single for most of my life. The first few years of our marriage, we were renting our home, and then God made it possible for us to buy this house (which was great because I would have cried the ugly cry if I’d had to let it go.) I am adjusting to my new cul-de-sac — I guess now I am finally in “nesting” mode. I am finally starting to feel more like “a married chick who was once single,” than like ‘a single girl who is now married.” Looking back, I see how my whole life up till now was one big gate that prepared me for this stage of life. And, I keep thinking about how this life as a whole is really just one big gate that points to the cul-de-sac that is coming in glory. I want to be a good steward of my community, and I am thankful for Emily’s book, which is helping me to think deeply about how I need to move outward and look upward on this journey.

    (And am I so glad I got to see the full replay today. Periscope was not my friend on Tuesday, and I completely missed the end where Emily answered my question with such grace and wisdom. “Christ is enough for me in this” will be going in my journal tonight.)

    xo 🙂

  3. Chapter 1: From page 34, what does it mean for you to sit down on the inside?
    I think that sometimes, when faced with trouble or a challenge, I tend to immediately want to fix it…even if it’s a problem with a relationship I have and on the outside, I’m acting calm and rational, on the inside I’m frantically trying to find a way to figure out what I did wrong, or what the other person did wrong. I need to just sit down and trust in God to take over. Even if it means I don’t have all the answers.

    Chapter 2: How is your faith challenged differently during moments of crisis versus moments of ordinary time?
    I fluctuate between trying to do everything on my own and trusting God to take care of things for me. Oftentimes I forget to just leave everything to Jesus. I’m a bit of a control freak and not so good with the trusting, so you can see this is a point of work in progress for me.

    Chapter 3: In what ways are you standing at a gate or living in a cul-de-sac?
    Goodness, there are times when I thought I was standing in the middle of nowhere, with no one around me…simply because I was behind a gate. I found that even times when I felt I made it to that cul-de-sac, there was still a gate, because either 1) I never felt like I fit in, or 2) I wasn’t really my true self and I was too afraid to unlock and open the gate for anyone.
    Recently there have been times when I have finally been able to be myself and to truly sit down on a bench. Now I await to see whom God has brought to sit with me. But while I wait, I know that Jesus is sitting right here next to me …waiting for me to invite him. =)

  4. Chapter 1: a sense of peace and being present despite what is going on around me or what I’m doing. This usually comes when I’m connecting with God throughout my day.
    Chapter 2: The ordinary time can definitely be more of a challenge in many ways as I can take my faith and relationship with God for granted more. In crisis it is the challenge of believing and trusting God knows best.
    Chapter 3: I had thought that I was standing in a gate earlier in the year but now think I’m in a cul-de-sac although who knows for how long. Life stuff feels like it’s moving but at a snail’s pace.

  5. The reason my faith is challenged during difficult and stressful times is because I rely on myself first, instead of going to God immediately. Sometimes, I don’t even realize that I do this. I pray to God and I know God is listening. I am working on relying on God first and foremost. 🙂