About the Author

Robin is the author of For All Who Wander, her relatable memoir about wrestling with doubt that reads much like a conversation with a friend. She's as Southern as sugar-shocked tea, married to her college sweetheart, and has three children. An empty nester with a full life, she's determined to...

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  1. For me, words to describe feeling most fully alive are excitement, joy in the serving, contentment, and WooHoo!! But also, and possibly not as obvious, fear of what other’s think, especially those who wouldn’t feel as alive doing the same things. And the question, “Is it ok to feel this way?”

    I am soooo enjoying this book and the videos. Thank you for your service to the Kingdom.

    • “Woohoo!” That’s a good one.

      You bring up an interesting point, Julie, asking – Is it okay to feel this way?

      It fascinates me how suspicious we’ve become of desire.

    • I can relate to the fear of what others will think…why do we put more weight on what others think than what Christ will think?
      We need to make Christ the First-thing pursuit like Emily says, and build our energy from there.

  2. Good morning all!

    Scarey topics for this day – scratching beneath the surface I try so hard to keep locked behind that handy control-door…

    I feel most alive when writing. When writing I feel:
    free
    connected (to God and others)
    but the thought of moving forward with it brings on feelings of
    guilt,
    fear,
    rejection.
    The negative emotions have definitely won out so far.

    I just love the Irenaeus of Lyons quote: “Life in man is the glory of God; the life of man is the vision of God.” As Emily writes: “the glory of God is a human being fully alive.
    This so opened my soul-eyes. Who would not want God to be FULLY alive in them.

    But, I have to admit there are times when I get a hint of it and run away. Making excuses to limit what I know I am capable of in Christ.

    I am very good at encouraging others in their pursuit but when it comes to myself – I put a bowl over my light. Any one else guilty of that??

    Also page 54 “True desire is born out of death, of knowing I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” I am going to try to put to death the limitations I have put on myself and pursuing that desire on a ‘soul-level’ as Emily said.

    As a result of this chapter I have come to the realization that not only do I have a new heart through the redemption of Christ, but as a new mind. And, with that heart and mind I am ready to pursue my desire – The desire that will magnify my One Great God!

    • Tori,

      Your honesty is refreshing and you’ve articulated this Holy Wrestle I feel, too; why can’t we trust the God things more than our doubt? We look at splashing waves and forget that Jesus’ hand is reaching out to hold us steady….

      I’m in a season when there is SO much to celebrate in my writing friends lives; but I’m hesitant and unsure of personal direction because on some level, it HAS been about MY interests at the expense of God’s. So I’m listening. I’m turning my ear and heart. Trying to surrender and listen well.

      I’m so excited to hear this shift for you :).

      • Sometimes it’s hard to see our own art through the trees of our friend’s successes. I will pray for you to hear his direction. For now the Glory may be in celebrating His art in them.
        Sweet blessings, sister:)

    • Yes I am guilty of often trying to downplay the gifts He has given me, or to even declare it as nothing. It’s not that I don’t want to glorify Him, but I struggle when bringing Him glory also brings me attention. I don’t like attention it makes me uncomfortable. Then I wonder, why am I getting attention, isn’t this wrong for people to notice me? I know that isn’t God’s logic….but my own, but I find that I quickly try to cover the light and go into hiding anytime others draw attention to what I am doing.

  3. I have to say this chapter scared me a little bit.

    “When is a time in your life that you felt most fully alive” has to do with my children’s birth, becoming a mother, which was pure joy.
    But some of the times in motherhood have been tragic for us and those times filled us with overwhelming sorrow, fear, and frustration.

    The next question that grabbed me was:
    “Could it be possible that the thing you most long for, the thing you notice and think about and wish you could do, is the thing you were actually made and are being equipped to do?”
    This opened up new thoughts for me all going in different directions.

    The things I most long for – my wildest dreams -are:
    *becoming a missionary
    *becoming an art teacher where I teach out of my own studio
    *finding a small mountain cabin to live out our days in (hubby and I) – growing our own food, raising our own livestock, living off the land.

    Nothing has to do with the other and that is what scares me. I guess this line from the book fits that: One of the biggest obstacles we face when it comes to making art is our own idea about it.”
    I am looking froward to the next chapter of this book to see where God’s plan might begin to lead me.

    • I like this, Jenn, because I think it’s important for us to explore desire even when it doesn’t make sense, to uncover what is there without the pressure of having to figure it out or make it “work”

      I’m glad to see the way you are processing this.

      • Thank you and I have to say…my fear is turning into excitement.
        I sat and talked with hubby about this this morning and while we talked, a new dream began to form for both of us! And it actually combines ALL three desires I mentioned.
        We did a lot of “what if…” and “can you imagine if…” and “wouldn’t it be cool if…”
        and we are BOTH seeing things about ourselves that we’ve hidden away for so long, some of which we had forgotten about.

        “A Million Little Ways” is now our couple’s study.

        So awesome o see God putting this spark into my husband, as well!

      • I’m sure you didn’t leave your comment in hopes of receiving advice…but as a fellow “thinker of many directions,” let me say that I’m glad I’m not alone.

        My mother shared some of her multiple desires with me a few months ago and I would like to tell you like I told her…do it now!

        If you want to live off the land later…grow something NOW! Your backyard is waiting for fresh produce!

        And if you want to be a missionary…start NOW. I’m not saying don’t travel over seas but hey why not live on mission in your hometown, or the closest city?

        I want to travel all over France, so for NOW I’m learning French.

        Best wishes!

    • This is so funny because I am also struggling with the fact that some things just don’t seem to line up with my ideas of my life. This includes the fact that God said I could be His hands and feet in another country. As He grows this desire in me, I find myself questioning should I wait and trust, or should I pursue school to become a missionary. Because it was God who is giving me this desire. At the same time I struggle with the fact that I have no other qualifications other than what God pressed on to my heart.

  4. I feel most fully alive when I am experiencing nature in a deep fashion. Such as a vacation away from home as opposed to a walk in the neighborhood. I can see, hear, smell and feel God there best. I come away refreshed and have a better sense of connectedness after such events. I am always in awe of the beauty God chose to surround us with. It is vast and gorgeous. I feel real. Like I matter in the grand scope of things.

    Where and how this will lead to figuring out desire for me I am not quite sure. I am stumbling there. So far, “Oh, I just don’t know. I am not sure. Is that God or me?” is my response. I want to be really sure it is God speaking. It is definitely nerve-wracking. I feel I am supposed to be doing Something! But what?

    I agree with Tori. I support and encourage others well. Then I deny me so quickly and easily.

    • “Where and how this will lead to figuring out desire for me I am not quite sure. I am stumbling there. So far, “Oh, I just don’t know. I am not sure. Is that God or me?” is my response. I want to be really sure it is God speaking. It is definitely nerve-wracking. I feel I am supposed to be doing Something! But what? ” YES!!!!
      I feel like this SOOO often myself!

      And the whole nature thing…YES again. My husband and I were just talking about how he feels most alive outside in the woods, filled with sensory experiences and knowing that it is the work of God.

      • Jenn,
        Great idea! Share AMLW with husband.

        *finding a small mountain cabin to live out our days in (hubby and I) – growing our own food, raising our own livestock, living off the land. YES! A dream of mine too.

        I do not know how to incorporate my love of nature with my other desires of writing, cooking, crafting. All are soul healing for me.

    • It struck me that “nerve wracking” is inconsistent with the nature of God, so maybe that means something? I don’t know. I’m praying for PEACE, WISDOM AND CLARITY for you, Kim, trusting that the One who loves you as your father will lead you as your king.

      • Thank you. I think it shows my lack of trust. I deleted some of what I wrote before posting. I overthink so much, and am terrible at decision making. I am so afraid of making a mistake or doing something wrong. Therefore, I just don’t do anything.

  5. So much in this chapter, quite a bit to wrap my head around!
    When I think of the question about feeling fully alive, I think of the following words or phrases:

    brave, loud, colorful, exuberant, content, expansive, and revel

    One of my favorite quotes from this chapter was on page 51, “For so long I was too afraid of my own mixed motives and false experiences of life to even consider waking up to my truest, most intimate desires. It felt wrong to want to uncover desire.” I have never been able to articulate that, but sometimes the mind messages never stop, and it’s so hard to sift them out.

    I also loved the story of your friend who got the answer to the prayer, “Do anything that pleases you, and belong to me”.

    Sarah M

    • That story got me too! My big take home from this chapter and video has been to focus on the first thing: Jesus! When I know and live in the truth that I belong to him, I am trusting that those 2nd things that please me will surely bring him glory.

      An aside: Watching the video and reading all of your thoughts was the BEST way to spend my lunch breaks! Thanks to you all!

    • Sarah,

      Your word list is SO full of life, so demonstrative! Yes!!

      Haven’t we almost made “desire” a bad word? This is one reason I’m enjoying Emily’s book so much; redefining terms in light of God’s word. Or is it realigning my perspective?? Either way, it’s focused on CHRIST.

  6. I stand over the stove making pancakes for my tribe while they pound the floor overhead and my heart pounds with every word you ladies share here. Seriously- I grew up in a home where making a family and a home were the highest calling, everything else just considered a hobby and so as a result, I find that I war within myself to let my art become the outflow of Christ in me.

    I have been in a 4 year season of dying and I find myself on the brink of new life- that God made me to create- that I mirror the image in which I was created by being creative.

    How freeing is that????
    So, yeah, the main word that comes to mind as I think of living fully alive is FREE.
    (man i love this book.)

    • Lori is in the house–HOLLA! 🙂

      And wowza….I have been Dead Man Walking in a particularly rough season. That you are coming alive in this season, that this book is ministering to you? That you’re sensing the freedom you already have in Christ? No small things.

  7. I’m most alive when performing (drama, music). Also I love when I’m able to explain something to someone so that their “light” goes on. I love to see people have that “aha” moment! That said, my job (which I love) is 80% working by myself and 20% working with others. It can be challenging to reconcile my desire with where I am.

    • Cynda,

      Does your church offer drama or music opportunities? Have you considered leading a small group after hours or on Sunday mornings? I guess that’s the first thing that comes to mind, so maybe you’ve already considered those things OUTSIDE of work.

  8. Wow… I just love listening to Emily on the videos!! I really love her generous heart in sharing her perspective not only as author, but sharing her own personal experiences. This chapter really spoke to me. I have come up with my list of words that make me feel fully alive:

    Art (I am an artist & art teacher)
    Teaching
    light
    Light-hearted
    Energetic
    Joyful
    Strong
    Full
    Healthy
    Nervous
    Terrified
    Overwhelmed

    I am just recently letting myself be me & not so much a “people pleaser” as I have in the past…trying to let God’s way,for me, flow out & be an example to others…it’s been a journey, but I am getting there (I hope!). This book is wonderful!! Thank you all!

    • I’m a recovering pleaser, and goodness, that’s a hard thing to leave in my past (I hear ya).

      Your words are all over the place and I LIKE that–it shows how multi-dimensional desire/being wholly alive IS.

  9. Thank you for encouraging me to do this exercise. I was amazed and energized by the words that I came up with when describing when I most fully feel alive.
    Complete
    Satisfied
    Fulfilled
    Rejunivated
    Freedom
    Giddy
    Gleeful
    Joyful anticipation
    Empowered
    Serendipitous

    I am so excited to be on this “book journey” with you all. I am learning so much and am awakening to “buried treasure desires”
    Blessing Always~
    Jan

  10. I was really eager to get to this desire chapter, so I’m glad it is early on in the book!

    What do I desire? First, I truly want to be in God’s will. And when my desire seems to match up with His will, I’m ecstatic — but then begin to question: Is this truly the right timing for all of this? Is He sure He wants me to step out in faith NOW? Like with 7 kids under the age of 13, now?

    He’s not letting me off the hook, so I’ve been running with it (and loving it).

    When I’ve felt most fully alive, those experiences made me feel:
    free
    laughable (in a good way, like you can’t stop smiling)
    thankful
    like I’m in the center of His will
    relaxed/at peace
    contented

    And sometimes? I’ve felt guilty. Like I should be putting my plow to the soil more, and not enjoying it so much. But I’ve seen that the joy that comes with actually living out those desires God has placed within me is GOOD. No guilt necessary.

    • Amanda,

      Is it the enemy who confuses us and stirs guilt? It certainly isn’t from God (but maybe it’s our own inner negative self talk??). But it’s encouraging to hear you at PEACE in these times! That convinces me God is at the center!

  11. I’ve had so many things begin to open up the art inside my heart for God in this last chapter.
    I feel the love of others for God is important to focus on as it keeps us all motivated and inspired.
    Emily you’ve opened up doors that have been shut in my heart for months! Thank you!

  12. My words that describe fully alive: worship and connected.

    Last week I mourned the “death of a second-thing.” So I appreciated the admonition that just because it doesn’t turn out the way we expect doesn’t mean it’s not worth pursuing. The day after the “death” I struggled with the enemy whispering to me, “That, that was a mean joke God played. He keeps leaving a little trail of crumbs, and when you reached the end there was a stone.”

    But God is not a cruel prankster. He is my Father. And Satan is a liar.

    So the quote on 47 rang especially true today, “What if you desire to do a particular thing because God created you a particular way, not to tease you or make you miserable, but to actually mold you into becoming more like him, for his glory and the benefit of others.”

    …for his glory and the benefit of others. That’s my prayer.

  13. I feel most alive when I’m struck by design inspiration. I can empathize with Michelangelo “freeing David from the stone”: I look at yarn – overwhelmed by the colors, the fibers, the beauty – and I can *see* what it should become, and I know how to make it so. (I write knitting patterns, fyi.) It’s uplifting and exhilarating – and the opposition that I most often face comes, not initially from an inner voice, but from the very audible voices of those around me who think that my level of passion for what I do is just a wee bit crazy.
    I try to listen, to filter between constructive criticism and bitter negativity, but I often fail at discerning the difference and that causes me to falter. I need to focus on my Father’s voice, and in walking the path *He’s* placed me on.

    • Sarah Jo,

      I love it when y’all figure things out. We seem to know what TO do but sometimes fail to follow through (you sound amazingly talented!).

  14. “Happiness, party of orange.” That line on page 44 made my day when I read it!

    Content and unaware of time passing are a couple things that come to mind when I think of feeling fully alive. Being 100% engaged with a person or activity and absorbed in the world around me. This happened last year when my husband and I hiked up a small mountain in Maine. The process of working together to reach the top in the midst of God’s creation was invigorating and challenging. The panoramic view was our reward at the summit, but the process of getting there made me feel alive. Trying to pay attention to things that make me lose track of time because that seems to be a clue that I’m living full out.

    Page 53: “We are not trying to become a better version of ourselves. Instead, we begin to uncover the person whom we have forgotten we already are.” This quote inspires me to seek after 1st things first and continue the process of uncovering the desires God has put in my heart during this season of life.

  15. I have to admit I have read this chapter several times now. I particularly love where she says on page 47 “What if you desire to do a particular thing because God created you a particular way, not to tease you or to make you miserable, but to actually mold you into becoming more like Him, for His glory and the benefit of others.”

    Because often times like Emily I wonder if my desires are something I am making up or if they are what God wants for me or something I want for myself. I also love how she says that Desire “is a longing for truth, for love, for God, and to honestly relate with others from the depths of who I am most fully am.”

    I feel that same need to connect with all that I am, and for me that most often shows itself in the written form. I have always felt that I communicate better in writing than face to face. This has resulted in tons of emails being sent over the years, and then became something I used when I started my blog to share my faith. I just felt that it helped me to express myself better. I don’t call myself a writer though. I just call it my form of communicating. Don’t really know that I will ever pursue writing a book or anything.

    God is showing me new desires and I’m not sure how the writing will fit in the bigger picture….but that is OK. Right now I see God birthing a desire to go to another country and help by being His hands and feet, yet I am not sure what that will look like. Honestly at this time, I don’t want to know too much. It would be overwhelming.

  16. my greatest desire is to give hope…because through God, i can now see the transformation that has taken place in my own life. and i want to share that hope.

    as far as what makes me feel alive, it is when the pieces of the puzzle start coming together. when things click. making little discoveries and learning something new. and to me it feels inspired, open, and full of wonder. joy.

    what i particularly loved in this chapter was ‘putting first things first.’ and that by getting right with God, everything else will fall into place. and i know in my own life, i have been guilty of elevating my own desires over Him – even things that are considered ‘good’ like family and motherhood. but when i released those over to Him, i got back those things and more.

    my favorite quote is “we are not trying to become a better version of ourselves. instead, we begin to uncover the person whom we have forgotten we already are.” to me this is freedom and liberation from beating my head against the wall looking for that one ‘thing’ that i was meant to do. how wonderful that i can glorify God and create art by just being the whole person, in Christ, that God created me to be.

    thank you so much for this wonderful series and for the opportunity to share with the rest of the group.

  17. Several years ago I worked really hard at writing a personal mission statement. What I came up with was this: “To wholeheartedly, every day: Delight in the Lord, Abide in Christ and Walk in the Spirit.” This specifically defines how I want to live my life. What makes me most fully alive? When whatever it is that I am doing fits into the picture of this statement. My alive looks like delighting and abiding and walking.

    I love the quote on page 47, “One of the biggest obstacles we face when it comes to making art is our own idea about it. We make it too hard.”

  18. There are a number of words I can think of that define that “alive” feeling for me:

    happiness
    joy
    gratitude
    contentment
    peace
    energy
    pressured
    challeneged
    nervous
    engaged
    focused

    I can think of things I enjoy doing, but am unsure how to focus on one thing and make that my desire and my art. I keep coming back to needlework and handcrafts (though this has only been a very on and off hobby for me up until now). In addition, I am a mom, and working on needlework dosen’t really fit into my life in any kind of a practical way.

    I can really relate to everyone’s struggle with motives and desires. When is it me, and when is it from God? I feel like everything I do is at least partically coming from a selfish place. How do I sort that out, and figure out what I should be pursuing?

  19. So much to unpack in this chapter! The part I most resonated with this week was on pages 46-47 where Emily talks of the woman who wants to write but I couldn’t pin down or relate the whole experience to myself. I want to write and most of my writing comes across as memory-keeping for my family. In the video Emily says (I paraphrase) “thinking you want to do this and this has to look a certain way but if you can’t do it in that way you avoid it all together. “. That is me: I get so stuck in how I think something is supposed to look or I see blogs I admire and they are written in ways i can’t replicate so I think I can’t try. I loved Emily’s encouragement to take this before God and stay open to how he can use me in a way I haven’t seen or considered. As Emily writes on page 47 “One of the biggest obstacles we face when it comes to making art is our own idea about it. We make it too hard.”
    That’s what I’ve been trying to articulate to myself! Thanks, Emily!

  20. Thank you so much for this study.
    I think what I am struggling the most with is the line between responsibility and desire. Specifically, I want to paint beautiful pictures. I set aside this desire while homeschooling my son for the last 18 years. During that time God gave me opportunities to use my artistic gifts in various craft days at church and VBS crafts for kids. While not my first choice, these were wonderful outlets for my creativity. I have started painting again, but often feel pulled to do these other things–no one else volunteers or feels capable to do them. I’ve seen many good things come from these activities and I feel like I have to justify “just” painting a pretty picture. It seems selfish and only for me, when these other things benefit so many other people.
    Hopefully, by the time I’ve finished this study I’ll have a better feel for what my art should look like?

    • Tracy,

      Your comment reminds me how important it is to pray for wisdom and discernment. Beg…plead…cry out…PRAY! (hollering at myself, not you :).)

  21. I am fully alive when I am carrying the broken to the cross for mending! Coming alongside one and walking the road to Emmaus with them…..

  22. What resonated most with me in this chapter is the story of Barbara Brown Taylor and her story of sensing God telling her: “Do anything that pleases you, and belong to me.”

    I feel like this is where I am now.I am at a crossroads right now in my life with so many ideas and desires that I want to pursue and not knowing which way to turn, afraid of making a mistake, and yet excited at the possibilities that surround me. And when I pray about which direction to take, all I sense is God telling me: “Saturate yourself in me. Let go and I will make a way.” And that’s scary because there is no clear direction right now…no goals laid out in front of me to complete, no sense of purpose or direction…just dependence on God. Just trusting Him that even though I can’t see it the step is there.

  23. Whew! This chapter.. hard for me! Beautiful and freeing, but hard too, because I have always been skeptical of my desires. I have long connected “desire” with “sin.” And I know my self-serving tendencies are so deeply rooted I’m often wary of pursuing things I enjoy because I’m SURE there’s a selfish agenda underneath it. In fact, one of my closest girlfriends in college and I had a running joke about being “ascetics” because surely, for a Christian, this is the only way to go, to be “safe”.. deny yourself! So I have to admit when I was reading this chapter, I was skeptical a little bit and arguing in my head over it, exactly what Emily was saying in the video that she wrestled with in writing it. Is this really something God cares about? (Emily, if you read this, have you read the book “Being Human” by Macaulay & Barrs? Spoke so much to me in college about this issue.) I’ve often grappled with those same concerns with John Piper’s statement that the chief end of man is to glorify God by enjoying Him forever (and his whole deal with Christian hedonism). But, I mean, who can argue with John Piper?? He is a brilliant mind. Anyway.. I struggled with this fear that if I pursue what really makes me come alive, will I depart into serving self and pleasing self and all the icky hidden motives? I breathed a sigh of relief with Emily’s words at the close of the chapter:

    “Discovering what makes you come fully alive isn’t the goal of life, but it is evidence of life. To be fully alive is impossible without the resurrection work of Christ. Explore with abandon those things that make you come alive. If your flesh begins to put the art ahead of the Artist, disappointment will bring you back around again. If you begin to pursue lesser, secondary things, you need not fret so much about it. Trust that your clenching of second things will never fully satisfy. Let disappointment do its deep work–remind you that your true desire is found, not in God’s way or God’s will or God’s blessings, but in God Himself.” (p.56)

    Also.. I loved that she talked about desire/coming alive is not necessarily confined to one thing. I found relief in that. As soon as I seem to try to pin down the thing, I find its not exactly “it.” What joy to me to know that it’s many things, a million little ways, and changing over the various seasons of life.

  24. So many of the comments I’m reading here I agree with and think “yes, exactly….”.

    My greatest desire is for my life to encourage another to trust Him. As for what makes me feel alive and my favorite quotes, much of what I could comment has already been stated, so I’m going to share what really hurt to face “out-loud” and more of a paraphrase instead.

    In my journaling notes as a response to pages 47 & 48 when Emily is talking about our “wildest dream”, this is a mix of direct quote from the book, my paraphrasing and realization:

    :: WHAT IF: What I desire to do is what God created me to do? to His glory? for Him?
    Is it possible? Is it possible what I long for most is what I was made & equipped to do?
    Is it possible somewhere along life’s path I got the message I was being selfish to follow my desire?

    One of the biggest obstacles I face about the art within me… my own desires. I make it too hard. I don’t allow space for failure. Fear of failure is stopping me. I’ve made my desires into an untouchable, sparkly, highly desired, unattainable idol. … I’ve allowed fear a place above trusting You. ::

    Not editing first thoughts is messy. But I’m thankful for the messy and the faithful forgiveness of my Heavenly Father. I was still struggling with embracing my desires though – until watching the video. So while I agree with everyone’s quotes being the best (I too have most of them noted). I have to go with a paraphrase of something Emily said in the video as my MOST favorite & freeing quote, even though I didn’t get her words exactly. The idea gives me the air for a huge deep sigh of relief and puts so much in my mind to rest. In essence, “My motives might not be pure, but my deepest desires have been redeemed.” Oh.My! To think because of “Love’s sacrifice on the cross” (pg 56) for me, and my death to self and acceptance of salvation, my desires are redeemed — even when I mess up with impure motives! Every other quote I can qualify away, or edit-first-thought-it away, but to think my desires can be redeemed. This stops me. I can embrace this.

  25. So much in this chapter!! I have found myself struggling with so much of what Emily talked about. But I feel so much freedom after reading this to be able to enjoy who God made me to be and what he may be calling me to do at every season of my life.

  26. I liked how she asked what makes us feel fully alive…my answer scared me and then I was like really that was a wow moment. I love to write…but do I dare take the leap and go for it ..when I do it I feel wildly alive and passionate and scared but yet my soul feels like the windows have been left open and I can breathe freely

    • Tammy I am excited with your response. Do we give ourselves the permission to respond this way ? God has given pieces of Himself to us. We each have our own way of expressing that piece. Because I have a similar temperament, I feel the open windows when something comes together that is an expression of God’s heart ( ie. in my photography, and writing). The bottom line though I think still is God expressing Himself in the particular way that is already in each person. That is art.

  27. When I started to list the times when I felt most alive I noticed common threads: nurturing/ teaching/encouraging. I love that Emily keeps pointing out that our art will be different during different seasons of our lives. In college, my “alive” nurturing/teaching encouraging times were with the freshman in my dorm, the preschoolers I taught in Sunday School, the small group Bible Study I led. In my professional life it was with the girls I worked and lived with day in and day out. Later, as a young mom, I was focused on my own young children, and felt quite alive! Now, as an older mom, I feel alive when I can encourage younger moms, be engaged with our children ( differently than before, but still in a life-giving way), teach ladies at church, blog about something helpful, and care for the elderly around me. I love that we can look back fondly at the days behind us and still know that God has good plans for our future as well!

    Emily, I have to tell you that 25ish years ago I also ran away from my art ( teaching) and earned a BA in ASL interpreting! Someone told me I had good facial expressions ( directly after someone told me they couldn’t see me teaching because I was too quiet) and I switched. But do you know what I have spent the last 15 years doing? Teaching! Not always in a classroom, but in many other places including around my own kitchen table with my children. Sometimes our art chases us down until we climb right over our fears and the opinions of others, doesn’t it! ? Lovely job on the book!

  28. I’m not sure who said it in the video, but she said HOW you pursue your desire doesn’t just look one way. That really resonated with me because I’m starting to see that in my own life. I’ve always wanted to be a wife and stay-at-home mom since I was a little girl. I would also always want to play school and would teach my little sister–she’d sit in a desk in our bedroom and I would conduct the lesson. Whenever I took those quizzes/tests in high school that were supposed to tell you what job you would enjoy, I always got teacher. But when I got in college I helped teach a community art class with 25 students and I hated it. I also don’t want a job outside the home because I want to stay home with my 3 kids. Anyway, after a couple years of praying, God has led my husband and I to choose homeschooling for our children’s education (my oldest is 4). It wasn’t until a couple months ago that I realized that I am going to fulfill that childhood desire of teaching, just not being a paid teacher at a school, but teaching my own children! It was one of those aha moments! I also just started a teen girls Bible study with girls in my neighborhood because I love teaching God’s Word, but more so in a smaller setting. Thinking outside the box! If your desire is teaching, it can be realized in so many different ways!

  29. I have always said that I feel most fully alive when I’m outside–the fresh air, the bright sunshine, a perfectly blue sky. I love to walk outside and talk, whether that’s crying out to God in prayer or chatting with a friend. But as I really considered this after reading this chapter, my mind was immediately pulled to those moments when God has given me a song and the words just coming pouring out of my soul. Most often, the melody is already there, like it was born in my heart long ago, just waiting for the words to be birthed through my experiences, wrestlings, rejoicings, or growings with God. It seems nearly effortless, like God is just breathing and speaking and humming and singing through this humble vessel. I feel alive when I sit at my piano, giving voice to those “songs in the night” that the Psalmist David often refers to. The words that describe how I feel in that moment are: humbled, raw, and intimate with God. It’s as if singing and playing are, for Laura the introvert, the truest way that my emotions are released and my deepest self is expressed. I long to find ways to share these songs with others because it feels like a fire burning inside me that is not meant just for me…so, in the spirit of actually uncovering the art I was born to make, tonight I had a fellow song-writing friend over, and we shared some of our original stuff with each other and worked on the songs a bit, giving each other ideas and helping flesh out some of the rough spots. It was beautiful to see the beauty of the profound things God has given to her as well. Thanks for the inspiration!

  30. The time I felt most fully alive was the moment I gave my heart fully to Christ…and this was after being a Christian for over 25 years. I had gone through a process of peeling back the layers of pain, shame, and grief and was left with what I felt was a heart of stone. I offered that up to the Lord one day and something miraculous happened, He replaced it with a heart of flesh and it was in that moment when I felt truly, deeply loved for the first time ever. So when I think of words that describe a time when I felt most fully alive I would have to say: loved, His beloved. Things weren’t just okay anymore, I could identify life as being great, or beautiful, or painful, or scary. It was kind of like those black and white movies where all of a sudden the characters begin to see color for the first time. I was able to begin to connect to my emotions for the first time. I really love listening to these videos. And my heart so resonates with the words of Chapter 3. My favorite quote: “What does this have to do with our desire to uncover our art? Everything. Because now I have a new heart, a new purpose, a new movement taking place within me.” The safety of having my heart in His hands gives me the freedom to take risks and have courage in areas where I would have never moved toward before.

  31. This is a book I’m going to have to read and re-read. Every paragraph has deep meaning to my art-starved soul.

  32. I’m just loving this book and series of videos. I’m struggling with the idea of being vulnerable….to be fully alive means so much risk, and I wonder what will happen if I’m exposed to be a fool. I sort of fear myself over anyone else. If I’m vulnerable and embarrassed I’ll be upset with me. Emily’s book Grace for the good girl has opened my eyes and changed my life over the summer. I’m recovering, but I wonder… How will I know when I’m fully alive? What does that feel like?

    I so agreed with Angi’s thoughts on the freedom of Emily’s words on worshiping God in private with hands raised not being the only or even best way to worship. I’ve realized I have deep seated convictions about this that need to be explored. I have levels of goodness for things, and I shame myself into doing what I feel is ‘better’. Ie: books over movies, family time over movies, prayer over family time, writing over reading, etc etc on and on forever. I loved the ‘do anything that pleases you, and belong to me’ bit. I’m not sure what chapter that’s in, I may have read ahead.

    Thank you for all the encouragement and for spurring me to look deeper at my desires not as feelings to be ashamed of but as holy yearnings to be paid attention.

  33. I have to admit… I don’t know what makes me feel alive, and so that’s very scary for me. My nose is pressed in this book and my heart and eyes are open toward Jesus.

    XO

  34. Emily says in the video ‘is this me or is this God?’ That’s where i am in my life. I know i am supposed to write, i know God wants me to write but i am still not sure what he wants me to write about, but i have faith that it will come in time, the right time.

    What are your desires? What did this chapter bring to life for you?
    My desires are to do all that my Heavenly Father would ask of me. To live a life that changes my very countenance so that when i stand before Jesus Christ he will call me his.

    When is a time in your life when you felt most fully alive? And, When you feel most fully alive, what words or phrases come to mind that describe the experience for you?

    After Danielle died on the 8 Dec 2009 in a car accident that they say was her fault, i died too. I stopped praying. I could not say thank you because everything felt wrong and i couldn’t say please bless us because what i wanted most i couldn’t have. I knew i needed to pray that Christ would heal me if only i would let him. I explained to a couple of friends where i was in my life and i asked them to pray for me and they did and i felt it in my heart every time they did. Each day i would flee from the enclosed walls of my house and walk in the nearby park. Every day a song the children sing in church would trickle into my brain
    ‘Heavenly Father are you really there and do you hear and answer every child’s prayer? Some say that heaven is far away but i feel it close around me as i prayer…
    Pray he is there, speak he is listening, for you are his child his love will surround you…’ (http://youtu.be/Eb29gVgaHcY)

    Then one day, some five months after i last time i prayed, while i was walking through the avenue of trees covered in new leaves i began to sing the words out loud. I didn’t care if others could hear me and then i prayed. I prayed through my tears. I prayed through my heartache knowing that one day we would all sit together in God’s kingdom with Danielle. Knowing that she was with those that had passed on before us and they would take care of her until we could. When i pulled back into the darkness i make myself think of this perfect moment when i knew my Heavenly Father really was listening.

  35. The segue from Chapter 4 hit home for me …”fatigue that may come with introspection…sink into GOD” I am learning to stop looking back and lean forward with thoughts, events, my daily activities, hopes, prayers and YES EVEN DESIRES that i know magnify the one true living GOD. We shouldn’t discount the beauty that is within us when we are fully aware of who lives inside of us and gently reminds us to keep our eyes on HIM who created us AND our desires.

  36. This was my favorite chapter so far! I’m taking time to really contemplate what those things are that make me feel most alive, and how that actually feels for me. While reading this chapter, I realized that because of pain associated with past ‘alive’ experiences, I have often neglected activities that do give me life in order to avoid any possible future hurt. Now, it’s time to uncover those buried desires.

  37. I have read the whole book and am slowly going thru it again with the video’s. It is a wonderful book and I have shared alot of it with my bible study group. as I read I high light spots that strike home hard. It has truly helped to open my eyes. thank you for sharing this with all of us.

  38. Watched the video on Saturday, November 2. Fantastic and very encouraging. So grateful to hear that in laying down the motives before God, He will take care of that. I won’t need to be constantly fighting as to whether I am writing for recognition for me. That is such a barrier. I am free to express what is on my heart which is to express Worship through words.
    What you started out with though, if the continual searching and getting wrapped up in just the “words” takes over,I loose my involvement with the Creator. When that happens, I then loose the freshness and sweetness in my writing.
    Thank you so much for sharing.

  39. I am finally getting caught up on listening to the videos. I am amazed at the wisdom you young ladies possess!

    The past five years, my life has been completely turned upside down and God has shown himself faithful. So this quote really hit me: “Let disappointment do it’s deep work–remind you that your true desire is found, not in God’s ways or God’s will or God’s blessings, but in God himself.” My counselor asked me about 3 years ago, “What if everything you had were taken away and you were left with nothing, what would you have.” I answered, “God.” And after hesitating, I said, “And HE would be enough.”

    Carry on ladies…you are doing great!