2016 wasn’t my favorite year. It wasn’t the worst, but it definitely wasn’t the best, and it seemed like a lot of people shared that sentiment this year. Though it wasn’t the best, God still shaped and molded me in 2016 through various mediums. Here are some of the things that shaped me most in 2016.
In February, our staff went through a training on the Enneagram. The Enneagram is a personality type indicator that utilizes 9 different personality types, noted by a number (1-9). I’ve taken several different personality type indicators, but this one was spooky in how accurate it was about who I am at my core. It has also helped me understand my co-workers on a deeper level. What makes this indicator different is that it has movement to it. Though you’re typed by number that shows your core motivations and drivers, your number type also has a wing number that you pull things from. And it even shows you the number you go to in times of stress and another in times of confidence. So, instead of saying you’re one thing and one thing only, it shows the complexity of the human experience. I am a 1, the reformer type. I have a 2 wing. When I’m stressed, I go to the less resourceful parts of a 4 and when I’m feeling confident, I go to the resourceful side of a 6. If you know me well and read up on the Enneagram, I think you’ll agree with this typing for me.
As I read through information about my number, at first, my thought was, “oh, this means everyone around me thinks I’m a jerk”. But as I dug deeper, I began to see and understand myself better. I saw how others received me despite my intentions, the good I bring to the table, and why my core reactions are my core reactions. In Romans 7:14-20 Paul talks the pull of sin and the flesh when he talks about not doing the things we know we should and doing the things we hate, and there are definitely places in my life where I feel those pulls. Though I try to do what is good and right, I am pulled towards the things that I know aren’t, and like Paul, it is frustrating and maddening at times. And though my type doesn’t excuse my tendency towards sin, it helps me see why I’m being pulled towards the flesh, because I understand those fleshly desires that are inherent within me on a deeper level.
Minimalism & Narcos
At the end of the year, I found myself watching a lot of Netflix. Two things I watched really opened my eyes to my relationship with money and those were Minimalism: A Documentary about the Important Things and the Netflix original series, Narcos. In Minimalism, the guys from The Minimalists explore the idea of detaching yourself from things and truly experiencing life. And Narcos follows the life of drug kingpin, Pablo Escobar. Pablo was once the 7th richest man in the world, but through the show, you see that he literally had too much money for one person to know what to do with. He gives money away, simply because he can’t keep it all. He buries money in the ground because he has already filled all of the empty space in his house (and the houses of his relatives). At one point in the show, he is the richest man in Colombia, yet his family struggles to keep food on the table, because he is being hunted down by the authorities because he’s a narco who amassed his money and position through selling and smuggling illegal drugs. It may seem weird to learn lessons from shows about drug lords, but both of these shows plus teaching from Scott on Ecclesiastes 4:6, gave me some really great things to think through in how I spend my money. When I break it down, I buy a lot of things I don’t need. Whether its to keep up with the Joneses or to make myself happy, or because great advertising made me believe I needed it, I spend a lot of money on things I don’t actually need. And I find myself chasing things and working to have the ability for more things instead of really being present and enjoying life and the people around me. So, for this year, I plan to stop each time I want to make a purchase, and ask, will this bring value to my life, and using the answer to decide whether or not to purchase the item.
** Disclaimer – Narcos is rated TV-MA and contains explicit content.
This summer, I moved across the water to Southeast Baltimore. It’s hard to write about the things that are shaping me without acknowledging my new geography. I loved me time in SOBO, but I am really enjoying learning a new neighborhood, meeting new neighbors, being close to a lot of friends, finding new third spaces, figuring out the best Order Up options on this side of town, and not having to revolve my schedule around parking availability.
I can’t say enough great things about Brene Brown. Seriously, look her up, read all of her stuff. She is a shame and vulnerability researcher who writes, speaks and talks about shame and vulnerability and its role in our lives. The best book I read in 2016 was her book Daring Greatly. I highly recommend it to everyone.
This summer, I took a team of 14 people from The Foundry to Belize for our second annual international Experience Trip. While we were there, we worked alongside Queen Street Baptist Church by putting on a VBS for children, painting parts of the school and delivering food packages to families of the church after a hurricane swept through the country. I love getting to travel to different places. I’m fascinated by cultures that are different than ours and I truly believe that unlike a vacation to a foreign locale, an Experience Trip allows you to live life alongside locals in a way that’s truly unique. We ate Belizean food, made by real Belizean women. We saw neighborhoods you’ll never see on a tourist trip. We went to several Belizean worship services and got to see how the people of Belize worship God and approach their relationship with him. We got to visit some cultural sites (like Altun Ha, a Mayan ruin site) and learn what these sites mean to locals.
From spending a week in Belize, I learned that worshiping God can be a lot more fun than we tend to let it be here in the states. In Belize, there is a lot more dancing and a lot more praising that happens on a regular basis. So, I left thinking, how do I better embody a life of praise in my relationship with God? I also got to know 13 wonderful people who are now staples in my social life. The bonds you make on trips like these, really last a life time. If you want in on our next Experience Trip, sign up here.
Last spring, some friends put up an open invite for people to play some pick up tennis. I played tennis in high school (not well, but I played) and thought it would be fun to dust off the racquet and spend time with some new people. We began to play pickup games once or twice a week and it became a regular thing. Not only did it shape me physically, but I think there's something great and life-giving about playing sports with your friends. If you ever want to play a pick up game of tennis, or join our little tennis club, hit me up.
- Lindsay Ferguson