Selfless = Self less


Philippians 2:1-4 (MSG): “If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care–then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.”

Full disclosure: I’m an incredibly selfish person. I have a mental illness that distracts me from my purpose and my calling by instilling in me fear, anxiety, and self-doubt. I’m always thinking about myself, even if it’s negatively!

I think I’m also pretty self-involved in that the direction I want my career to go in would be pretty self-serving. I don’t think God hates ambition and people who have high aspirations, but at what point are my goals contradictory with what God is asking me to do? At what point do I want to earn a higher wage because I can participate more in giving generously or because I would rather have more earthly possessions and comforts? At what point am I doing what God wants me to do, or am I just doing what I want to do?

But let’s bring it back to the verse. Paul is asking us to:

  1. Agree with each other, love each other, and be deep-spirited friends.
  2. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top.
  3. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.

I’ve summarized them into three key points for simplicity.

Agree with each other, love each other, and be deep-spirited friends. This one is painful for me. Right now I’m super politically active because of the current presidential administration, and I get frustrated with those who use their Christianity to deny the rights of others. That’s not what Christianity is about. But Paul is imploring his readers to love each other; be deep-spirited friends. Care about what your friends care about. Invest your time in their lives. Advocate for them in the same way that Jesus advocates for you.

Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. When you’re concerned with being first, you’re unable to see what’s behind you. Your goals and priorities are focused so much so that you have tunnel vision. Not only that, once you finally get to the top or to the front of the race, you’re the only one there! It’s so depressingly true that it’s lonely at the top.

I also think there’s a bit of distrust in God when you try to push your way to the front and sweet-talk your way to the top. You’re effectively saying, “I don’t care enough about God’s provision and plan for me to wait to find out about it; I’m going to not only try to accomplish the vision before God has set it out for me but I’m also going to do it my own way.” Trust that God not only has a plan for you, but is in front of that plan.

Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand. I can’t stress this enough, advocate for other people. Find out why they’re struggling, and if you can’t help, advocate for the provision of the resources that will help them. Look for opportunities to help people. If you have privilege, remember those who don’t, and use that privilege to instill justice in their world.

All three of these things call for you to be selfless. Essentially, think about your self less. Selfless –> Self less.

I love C.S. Lewis’s quote:

“Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.”

No, this does not mean you stop thinking of yourself completely. Just less.


I put in my two weeks’ notice for work and will be heading home October 15. I’m surprisingly very calm about the next steps and my journey home. I understand that I’ll be back in my favorite city with the best people in the world (sorry, San Francisco!) and I’m truly excited for the chapter of rebirth and rebuilding that will happen.

I truly believe that I was not meant to be in the Bay Area and that this wasn’t a fruitful season of my life. However, I’m extremely grateful for my time here.


13 reasons why (i’m leaving california)

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to mourn the reasons why Megan moved to California and why she’s promptly leaving four months later. I don’t think I have it in me to write thirteen emotional reasons, so I’ll list the main reasons for wanting to leave.

  1. California is expensive. My rent for a studio apartment, roughly the same size as my apartment in Chicago, is 1.6x more expensive. Here’s the kicker: It’s in a completely terrible neighborhood too! It’s not like I’m living close to public transportation, have all these amenities at my disposal, and am living in the lap of luxury. My neighborhood is home to just about everyone who does not actually live in my neighborhood.
  2. San Francisco and Oakland feel unsafe to me. I lived in Chicago. We have a high murder rate. I lived in NYC, in Brooklyn. Also a higher murder rate. When you think of high murder rates, you don’t think of either SF or Oakland. But actually, Oakland is in the top ten cities for crime in America. I never felt unsafe in Chicago. I never felt as though someone might lunge at me, touch me without my permission, grab me, hit me, steal from me, etc., until I moved here.
  3. I live 1.2 miles away from the train.  Yes, I know your grandparents walked 15 miles uphill both ways to get to work. But commuting via BART is excruciatingly painful, especially during rush hour, and especially when you have to add a 30 minute walk both ways on top of a long, tiring day. I’m sick of seeing someone defecate on the BART and having to be crammed with hundreds of other people in the same car, trying not to breathe in the stench.
  4. The Bay Area is dirty. I walked out of my apartment the other day to find that someone had thrown their trash on my sidewalk. It’s as if they decided they needed the garbage bag for other things so they dumped the contents all over the ground. On any given day you’ll find garbage, drug paraphernalia, human feces/excrement, etc. (and don’t even get my started on the smell of pee).
  5. The people aren’t very nice. I’ve been told that the old San Francisco was full of friendly people. I miss the earnestness of the Midwesterners I’ve come to love. I miss people genuinely looking out for others, being invested in their communities, and loving their city and its inhabitants.
  6. People don’t have pride in their city. It could be that there are a lot of transplants here, but no one cares about their city like Chicago does. Where are all the Giants fans now that they haven’t won a World Series in two years? See, Chicago hadn’t won a World Series in 108 years, yet they still had a bigger fan base than SF (I’m just stating empirical evidence here, I don’t have hard numbers. Don’t get angry at me).
  7. I don’t have any friends out here. Well, I have one friend out here. And in the past four months, I’ve only seen her twice. She’s busy with school, and I’m busy with work and being too poor to afford to see her and hang out. And I haven’t been able to make any friends out here either. It’s been harder for me to make friends here than it was when I was in both New York and Chicago.
  8. San Francisco and Oakland are liberal in theory only. Okay, this one might just be my bitter opinion. I came out West so excited at the prospect of being in not just a liberal city, but a liberal state as well! I was hoping to learn more about being liberal, and what opinions I’ve carried from being in the Midwest that I could change or test out. Here, you can be liberal because it’s fashionable, but do you really believe in justice when you asked the city government, with whom you have financial connections and ties, to remove the homeless people and drug addicts you believe are a–and I quote–“stain on the city”? Are you really liberal because you hired a Mexican nanny, believing you’re exposing your child to diversity?
  9. It’s not home. Plain and simple.
  10. I should have never been here in the first place. You know the story of the prodigal son where he asks his father for his inheritance early, believing that he probably did not have a promise guaranteed to him, and went out and partied and lived it up, so much so that his life spiraled out of control and he ended up living in pig slop? Well, that’s the tl;dr version anyway. That’s what happened to me. I took a risk, believing that I would not receive my inheritance and promise from God in Chicago, where I was living. I tried to make it work out here, but there’s nothing for me, and I am heading back home as the prodigal daughter to my parents’ place.

That’s it. I wish I could come up with more reasons to align with Thirteen Reasons Why. But I’ve never even seen the Netflix series, and ten is a nice round number just the same.

Let hope be my anthem


Psalm 33:20-22 (NIV): “We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love be with us, LORD, even as we put our hope in you.”

Are you a quitter? I know I am. It’s really hard for me to see the finish line sometimes. I give up really easily. If I don’t produce results quickly, I get bored.

I know God is at the end of the finish line, waiting for me. But he’s also running the race with me. He knows I’m struggling, especially these past few years. He knows that it’s hard bearing the weight of my shame and anxiety and guilt. He helps turn my head towards where I need to be.

I trust God. I trust his plan, his promise for me. I trust that I’m not an exile. I’m believing for a better tomorrow. I know God is my help and my shield and my heart swells with hope when I put my trust in his holy name.

Romans 5:3-4 (ESV): “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.”

My walk with God is not going to be a linear line. I also understand there will be trials and tribulations. God never promised a obstacle-free journey. I must remember that God is there to help.

Suffering produces endurance. Why? Because you want to get out. You want to claim something better. You know what you were promised, so you’re walking towards that.

Endurance produces character. Your character is a culmination of your experiences and how you dealt with them. You can demonstrate with your character how you’ve endured.

Character produces hope. Your character is who you are and what you think your promise is for your life and your future. You have hope!


I have decided to move back to Chicago. I’m just not in love with Oakland or San Francisco, and I don’t feel safe here, and it’s too expensive to the point where it’s foolish to be here.

In my mental health life, I’m experiencing the depressive end of the bipolar spectrum this week, so I can definitely use prayer. Everything is triggering to me this week to the point where I’ve felt like crying on the train, at work, and even while I was hiking on the trail today.

I’m still singing and crying out to Jesus in spite of the hurt, pain, and confusion; now how’s that for perseverance?? I know God is ahead of it all and in front of my future but it’s looking a little bleak to me at this particular moment in time.

Take Heart


Psalm 27:13-14 (MSG): “I’m sure now I’ll see God’s goodness in the exuberant earth. Stay with God! Take heart. Don’t quit. I’ll say it again: Stay with God.

Proverbs 3: 5-12 (MSG): “Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track. Don’t assume that you know it all.”

I suffer from too much ambition. I see myself doing so many great things, I feel as though I have so much potential. I’m never satisfied with complacency; I get bored easily.

Because of this, I find myself chasing shadows often. I’m always looking for the Next Best Thing, and oftentimes that involves me compromising my values or talents for something that can be considered low-hanging fruit.

I find the message in the devotional I’m currently studying, Wait and See by Wendy Pope, extremely relevant. Since I’ve graduated college, I’ve embarked on many different journeys to try to establish my adult life. I’ve lived in New Jersey, New York City, Chicago, and Oakland/San Francisco. I’ve attended grad school (but dropped out after a semester), held ten different jobs, and lived in six different apartments. Yikes.

I believe that the reason I haven’t found something God-purposed for my life yet is because I never once consulted him on any of the things I’ve done. I never asked Him to guide me, never asked Him to show the way.

I also believe that I never waited and stayed faithful to God. I recognize that God has anointed me and that He wants to do something through me just as He did with David. But He also wants me to be faithful to Him. God is always faithful if I follow Him with my whole heart, even when what I’m doing isn’t glamorous. So long as it’s godly, God can work with my faithfulness.

I’ve got to be willing to work with what I have, not with what I’m waiting for. I can’t say, “I’ll be able to serve God much better once I make $x, am living comfortably in this city, and have no debt.” Faithfulness starts now. God’s plan for my life starts now.


It’s my third month living in California and guess what? It hasn’t gotten any better. I’m trying to stay faithful and use this opportunity to figure out where God wants me next year. Where am I headed, God? What do you have planned for me in Chicago? What can I expect in California? If nothing, can you help me remain faithful to you during this waiting period?

Emotionally reactive => spiritually active


Romans 8:26-28 (MSG): “Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, or aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.”

Romas 8:39 (MSG): “I’m absolutely convinced that nothing–nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, thinkable or unthinkable–absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.”

If you live with bipolar disorder like me, or if you’re just a normal person with heaps of emotions, you recognize that your emotions often put you in awkward, tough, embarrassing, or threatening situations.

Emotions aren’t facts. My anger and frustration for what I’m experiencing at work doesn’t describe what’s actually happening. When I feel left out, that might not be the reality. Anxiety could be posing as something else.

That’s why we can’t rely on our emotions to bring us closer to God. Some days I don’t feel like having faith in God. Some days I am too depressed to think of God’s promise for me. Some days I want to indulge my sinful appetite by doing things I know God doesn’t want me to do and has asked me not to, simply because I was overjoyed or prideful or scared.

To be clear, it’s okay to have emotions! God didn’t create robots. Emotions come with the package, right? When something unjust happens to you, it’s okay to feel angry. When you lose someone close to you, it’s okay to feel sad. When you are in line for a promotion at work, it’s okay to be happy. These are 100% natural, God-created, totally normal emotional reactions to have.

But I challenge you to look at some of the emotional reactions you’ve had in the past day or so and see if any of them have negative effects on your relationship with God. If so, it’s time to ask God if he can create in you a spirit of discernment for what emotions are causing which behaviors in your life.

Remember Romans 8 earlier: “If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, or aching groans.” I strongly believe that those wordless sighs and aching groans are our emotions, and God can communicate to us and hears us in our anger, frustration, joy, and sadness.

Going further in Romans: “I’m absolutely convinced that nothing–nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, thinkable or unthinkable–absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.” The thoughts you haven’t expressed to God because your emotions got in the way won’t change the fact that God loves you.

So how do you get to being emotionally reactive to spiritually active? Pray. Talk to God through every season of your life. Talk to God in the peaks and in the valleys. Talk to God through your anger. Talk to God in your sadness. Know that nothing that has happened or will happen will separate you from Him.

Then, read your Bible. Find people in the Bible that have emotions like you. Challenge yourself to find a time where someone’s emotional outburst led to a time where they sinned and God wasn’t able to forgive them for that. I defy you to find an instance where that happens. (You won’t.)

Connect with God so that you can start to be in tune with His heart. See through God’s eyes what makes Him sad, what causes Him anger, what He delights in. And then start to share those same feelings.

Your emotions aren’t facts. But God’s love for you is truth.


I’m feeling incredibly homesick. I do not like California, especially the Bay Area, at all, and I’m wondering why I’m here. I’m trying to find out why God has placed me here or why I felt it was so necessary to uproot my life to come here.

It’s Blanche’s (my cat) third birthday today. A year and a half ago, I was a complete stinkin’ mess, and during one of my manic episodes I went to a shelter and spontaneously bought a cat. It was a huge impulse buy–I mean, they’re living creatures–but it’s undeniable how much Blanche has helped me grow. I was so depressed when I got her, and was barely eating/cleaning my apartment/taking care of myself. Having someone to take care of helped me take care of myself.

Tomorrow I am signing myself up for a gym membership (finally). I’ll be at 9Round. Maybe I’ll post some progress pics 🙂

Are you there, God? It’s me, Megan


James 4:7-10 (MSG): “So let God work his will in you. Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper. Say a quiet yes to God and he’ll be there in no time. Purify your inner life. Quit playing the field. Hit bottom, and cry your eyes out. The fun and games are over. Get serious, really serious. Get down on your knees before the Master; it’s the only way you’ll get on your feet.”

Let’s talk about spiritual warfare.

Did you know that you have an enemy who knows that God has anointed you and wants to make sure that you don’t live the life that God planned for you?

It’s true–the devil wants to make sure that you can’t hear God’s promise over his lies and manipulation. Take heart in the fact that the devil doesn’t know God’s promise for you, or his plan. The Holy Spirit is wholly from God and is our conviction and our communication from God while on Earth, Satan does not have with bond with us. Can we praise God that Satan can’t touch our spirits? Can I get an even bigger praise that Satan doesn’t know God’s plan for us?

But here’s the thing. Satan likes to communicate with our soul, in the form of many of our earthly desires and emotional responses. Here are some ways he deceives or manipulates us:

  • When we think we deserve to walk in unforgiveness after sinning and falling short of God’s glory
  • When we think that no one understands our pain
  • When we think more highly of ourselves than we ought, or when we have debilitatingly low self-esteem
  • When we think that we don’t deserve a brighter future

Emotions are attributes to otherwise seemingly neutral events. A breakup, a job loss, and a death in the family are all events that warrant appropriate emotional response. In fact, it’s probably weirder if you experienced a loss and weren’t upset about it.

I strongly believe that our emotions are something we should share with God. In this way, we can develop a stronger bond with Him. When we share our emotions with the devil, our sadness and grief turns to depression; our uncertainty about the future turns to anxiety; our earthly successes turn into us forgetting to praise God for his abundance. For the last emotion, I’m referring to mania, which I suffer from (surprise! I have bipolar II disorder).

I’ll often talk about mental illness in my blog because I’m trying to rediscover my faith and mental illness at the same time, but I’d love to mention it briefly here as it pertains to spiritual warfare.

I think those who suffer from mental illness such as myself face an even greater spiritual warfare. I can’t prove this, so don’t ask; it’s not like I have the empirical evidence and can show you the facts and figures.

But here are some lies that I hear from having bipolar II disorder that sound a lot like Satan trying to get in the way of God’s promise:

  • “You will never have a boyfriend, you’re too awkward and odd.”
  • “You don’t deserve healing after the huge screw-up you made last winter.”
  • “You will always be stuck in a job you don’t like. That’s what you get.”
  • “You ought to just tell people you like being introverted and quiet to hide the fact that you don’t have any friends.”
  • “Speaking of those friends, where are they when you need them now? Some friends. You probably did something wrong.”
  • “You deserve to take a trip, somewhere nice. Is it really pragmatic to always live by a budget each month?”
  • “You’re completely out of options in this city. You’re in a dead-end job, you don’t have any friends, no roots. You should look to move somewhere else.”
  • “Did God really say no sex before marriage? Well, it’s not like you’re going to get married anyway, and he’s ready, willing, and able to have sex. Send him a text.”

Not one of these things is true, Biblical, or from God. But I am wholly convinced that Satan uses my mental illness to speak lies into me. He knows when I’m weak, and he’s spineless, so of course that’s when he’s going to attack.

I can’t stress this enough. Spiritual warfare is real. Be constantly vigilant for the devil, and run to the arms of God, who cares for you so incredibly much.


Today I got on the train to head home for the day and it reeked to high heaven. An elderly homeless woman, who had a wheelchair, had wet herself while sleeping on the seat. Everyone who came onto the train made comments about the smell, her raggedness, and how they planned to stay far away.

But then a man standing next to me starting asking the people standing closest to her (which was still a distance, as the smell was terrible) if she was okay. He asked how long she had been sleeping, and if it was possible she may have had a seizure. He then called the BART police and filed an incident report through the app AND spoke to a representative who worked for BART at my stop (we got off on the same stop). He did what so many people literally turned their noses at.

It got me thinking that we do not lose our humanity when we’re at our grimiest, our most depraved, and at our lowest point in our lives. We all deserve to have decency/modesty when we want it (not people shouting “ew!” at her as they walked past). Maybe this woman was ashamed to be found in such a vulnerable position; maybe she wasn’t. But we don’t get to decide that for her. If we’re not able to take care of it ourselves, it takes two seconds to find someone who can.

Peaks and Valleys


Psalm 23:1-4 (MSG): “God, my shepherd! I don’t need a thing. You have bedded me down in lush meadows, you find me quiet pools to drink from. True to your word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction. Even when the way goes through Death Valley, I’m not afraid when you walk at my side. Your trusty shepherd’s crook makes me feel secure.”

It’s incredibly easy to blame God when we have wants or hurts and forget to bless God when there’s abundance. If you thought life was linear–a completely uphill slope just like in math class–you might need to have a spiritual disappointment. There were times when even Jesus was disappointed in life, people, and God, although there’s one key difference: He didn’t lose sight of the purpose and promise laid out for him by God.

Want to know what’s unique about valleys? That’s where the vegetation grows and where flowers bloom. It can be very difficult to see the sun from the valley, and it can also be hard to see what lies ahead when you’re stuck in a downward slump. It can feel very demoralizing, and you might feel like God is to blame for your current situation.

But think about this advantage: From this vantage point, you’re able to grow. You’re able to consume all of the spiritual nutrients you need and take advantage of the healing, personal and spiritual development, and wisdom. These are all free gifts from God–use them! I don’t think it’s any coincidence that the valleys are in a more humbling position in relation to the mountains. I think it’s very easy for us to forget God is elevated when we’re on mountains.

So what happens after we grow? We can reap our harvest on the mountains, dancing and praising and shouting onto God. Let’s be believers who can grow fruit even at the non-peak times (get it?).


I’m having a very long week, full of rollercoaster emotional rides related to my work performance and trying to establish a legacy while still knowing I am not going to stay in this corner of the world very long.

I really wish that God would provide me with a huge vision, idealistically with flashing lights and a neon sign, that tells me what my future should look like and what career path I should follow. Right now if you traced my career path from post-college to now, it’d look like the drunken walk of someone still so much wiser than me.

If it’s nursing, let me find the passion to pursue it. If it’s something else, I would love divine inspiration to know what that something else is. If it’s working in a non-profit or starting my own business or going back to school or being a mother…I’ll take any of them! I just want clarity so I can follow with an open heart and be passionate about it. I hate living a lackluster life.

I realize your life can still have meaning in spite of your job, but I spent so much time at my job a week that I’d love to enjoy it. And I really don’t think that this is me being selfish. I don’t think God intends for us to live lives that are unfulfilling (outside of him fulfilling us spiritually).

I’d love to find some resources, preferably from Christian sources, about how to find your purpose or calling or career.