The Hills Really ARE Alive!

Have you ever gone on a trail run before? My husband recently took me on my first adventure into the woods for a 3-mile run. I am not sure what I expected but I trusted that we would have a good time. The first leg of the run my husband said, “the beginning is a bit up hill.” Once we got to the hill I said with fire coming out of my ears… “A BIT?!”

As the jog through the woods continued I was struck at how much focus our run required. I focused on my footing, staring intently at my husband’s every step as he fearlessly led me on the trail. He periodically looked back to make sure I was safe, and occasionally stopped running to help me over fallen trees and crooked paths. All was well.

When we got to the top of the hill, there was a beautiful view of the trail up which we had just run. I was struck with the beauty of the view. We couldn’t see where the trail was or any of the other runners, but we saw the tree tops and celebrated our success!

As we began our run back down the hill I began to think about how clearly this represents our daily walk with Christ. Hebrews 12:1 “Let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.”

I have seen God’s hand in my life so frequently, but it is typically at the top of the “hill,” when God reveals that each root and tree was a necessary step to get to the final goal.

My parents have always told me, “Kathleen, just take the right next step.” What peace there is in knowing that just because I don’t have a 5-year plan, or a even a 5-month plan, I can trust the hands of my Heavenly Father who will help me up the side of the hill and keep looking back at me and offering His hand to help me over the next obstacle. I believe the hill is worth the climb; we just might not see it yet.

 

Marriage is a Science Experiment

Have you ever taken a Myers Briggs test? It is basically a personality test that tells you more about who you are and why you act the way you do. I am what you would call an “ESFP” or the “entertainer.” The letters stand for:

  • Extraversion (E)
  • Sensing (S)
  • Feeling (F)
  • Perceiving (P)

The short explanation of an ESFP is that we are “spontaneous, energetic and enthusiastic – life is never boring around ESFP’s.” Get this… 11% of the population has the ESFP personality type. Interesting stuff!

Although these characteristics seem like a thrill a minute I have learned that my personality has many weaknesses. Like avoiding conflict, getting distracted often and feeling hurt easily. Taking this test has clarified those weaknesses for me. And so has being married.

Being married has opened my eyes to myself. This may sound a bit backwards. You might be thinking, “Shouldn’t you be learning more about your husband?! How selfish!!” Yes well, I am selfish. But if you asked my husband he would say that marriage has helped him learn more about himself as well. Which is fantastic.

We got married November of 2015; the first few months of marriage were difficult because we were trying to understand and learn each other in a new way. A way we never had to while dating.

About two months in I noticed that I felt like I was annoying, unlovable and in the way. I knew this wasn’t the way I wanted to feel so I decided to perform a highly secret scientific experiment on my husband (Duh-Duh-Duh!!!)

We started off by taking the simple Myers Briggs test and going over our Love Language’s. These simple tests took a little time but the results were eye opening.

I learned that my husband and I are pretty opposite. I am an extrovert, he is an introvert. I work off of feelings and he thinks things through. I approach things with a perceiving eye and he uses his judgment. My Myers Briggs title is “The Entertainer” and his title is “The Logistician.” So, yeah, we are wired differently.

For example: I am energized when I am in crowds and hanging out with friends. My husband is energized when he has time alone. I am basically a puppy and when my husband comes home from work. I get excited, hug him, welcome him and ask him a million questions before he can even take his shoes off. My husband needs a little space to get reorganized, regroup and have dinner before he is ready to have my puppy dog excitement in his face.

Here is where I put my scientific findings into action. Rather than going out I would try to spend the weekends in. Rather than jumping up to greet my husband after work I would stay on the couch and say hello.

I let this go on for a few weeks.

After enough time went by I was ready to talk about my scientific studies and see how my experiment went.

I asked my husband if he felt better about how I was greeting him. He said he missed my getting up to hug him and say hello, but he didn’t miss the endless questions.

I asked my husband if he liked spending weekends at home. He said he appreciated our restful Saturday mornings together, but liked going out and adventuring out after that.

Then it hit me. I can help make those changes and make him happy! We just need Balance!

If I am fed by going out and my husband is fed by quiet time, we can make time to do both!

I recently went to visit a friend in Chicago and which gave my husband time to himself where he could run, work and relax and that time apart made him start to miss me! Which made me feel loved, cared for and well worthwhile. We were both rejuvenated!

So basically, I am learning that marriage is a science experiment. Lots of weighing, measuring, test and learning (I wanted to throw in some more scientific sounding things in here, but I have no idea what terms to use. Did I mention I got a ‘C’ in science? ). This whole marriage thing has been pretty fun so far! And with my ESFP personality you can bet your bottom dollar that life will never be boring! 

Yes… And...

“Yes, and” is a very popular term in improvisation. When I began taking classes at the Second City in Chicago this was the first lesson we were taught. For example, if you are in a scene with someone and they say, “Hey, Sue! Lets go to the mall!” as their scene partner it would be disheartening to respond with, “Hey! Your name isn’t Sue and I want pizza!” The scene at that point would be totally lost. What one would say in response would be, “Sue, that is a fantastic idea. And I really need some new running shoes!” (You can thank me later for that short improvisation lesson).

What I love about the “Yes, and” statement is that it is applicable to our relationship with Christ. I must humbly admit, it is easier said than done. Do you agree? Taking a risk for the sake of Christ’s kingdom and to bring him ultimate glory is scary. It is a vulnerable risk. “What will people think of me?” “What if I mess up?” I sympathize with these thoughts, because I feel the same way. 

Over the past two years I have learned that saying “Yes, and” to the Lord’s Will is much more rewarding than living out my own desires and dreams. There came a point where I cried out to God and said, “Lord, I don’t know what I am supposed to be doing with my life please send me in a direction and I will say, YES!” …and, wow, did He deliver!

After moving home from Chicago a friend of mine sent me an email with a document attached to it, it was an application for a radio host position at WCRF Moody Radio Cleveland. I nearly deleted the email until I felt a tug at my heart. I shut the computer and walked away. I was nervous, so many thoughts flooded my mind like, “If I get this job what will people think, how will my friends, family and community respond?” After praying and seeking counsel I sent the application.

I have learned so many lessons over my 25 (almost 26!) years of life. I think one of the greatest of these lessons has been saying “Yes, and” to Christ. “Not my will Lord, but Your Will be done.” Yes, I did learn this lesson the hard way. Yes, I have so much to learn. And Yes, I confess, I will never be perfect in all my responses. But the Lord’s Will, will be done. He is in control. I just need to sit back and respond with a joyful “YES, AND!”

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us!"

 

Quality time…is the BEST time!

Connecting with people has always been a longing for me.  Mom recalls the best way to discipline little Kathleenie Ferrini, was to physically remove her from where all the action and people gathered. I’d cry because I wanted to be a part of the fun. From that young age it was clear that “quality-time” was MY love language.

As I look back through my 16+ years of education I can clearly see that I desired a mentor, someone who was older than me to offer encouragement and advice. I sought relationships with teachers at church and school. I’m not sure why, but I didn’t feel I could connect with any of those adults.

I began to recognize that other students were connecting with teachers and adults in a way I simply didn’t understand. I felt awkward trying to connect. I began to think I was less talented and valuable than my fellow classmates, so I started to silently take a back seat.

I wanted people to like me. I thought I had an idea of who people wanted me to be and tried to fit that mold. But towards the end of college I found my way to the front seat by being unapologetically ME! God created me to be the quirky, overly emotional, quality-time craver, Kathleenie Ferrini. I mean come on… the front seat has a much better view.  

Fast-forward a few years. I’m now a morning show host on WCRF’s Moody Radio Cleveland by day, and am an acting teacher by night! There is so much fulfillment taking phone calls from listeners who need a friend and desire relationship. 

There is an over abundance of joy getting to teach kids acting and affirm that they are creative, smart and funny. You can never tell someone, especially children, that they are more than enough too many times!

Knowing what it feels like to be disregarded and dismissed has taught me to be a better friend. Because of the hurt I’ve felt I am able to created lasting friendships that go deeper emotionally and spiritually. Galatians 6:2 tells us to bear one another’s burdens. Philippians 2:3 tells us to count others more significant that ourselves. 

A friend of mine recently asked me why I was always so willing to take time to talk to her and give advice. My response was, “I always wanted someone to do that for me, so that is why I am here for you!”

I would encourage you to take a moment and think about someone who has positively impacted your life; someone who has invested in you… got that person in mind? Imitate that person. Build into someone else. You’d be surprised how much it builds YOU up in return.  

 

I wanna be bitter...

Have you seen this trend of YouTube videos where parents give their child a lemon for the first time and record their reactions? The results are adorable and hilarious. The children’s faces tend to have pursed lips, eyes closed, with a verbal shriek followed by a giggle! Their reactions to the tart, sour, and acidic fruit jump from the screen and reminds us of that familiar bitter taste we’ve all experienced.

What I appreciate about these silly YouTube videos is that the physical bitterness these children taste can be translated onto our emotional and spiritual lives.

I decided to major in Musical Theatre in college, which as you might imagine, was very competitive. Looking back on that season of life I clearly see a time of bitterness towards the college I attended. I grew disappointed that I didn’t get cast in shows. I felt like I was being treated unfairly and grew resentful towards teachers, some students, and the school as a whole. This bitterness grew to the point that when I got cast in the role of Carlotta in Phantom of the Opera, I didn’t bother looking at the list of who got the parts or learning lyrics to group numbers because I thought to myself, “what do I care… these people don’t care about me or think I am talented, they had to give me this role.” 

I wish I could go back and shake my college self and say, “Cry me a river!! Get over it! There is so much more yet to come!” But at the time, I couldn’t get over it. Instead I let my heart grow bitter toward the place I once held so dear. I couldn’t see past myself or my pride.

Time away from the college experience allowed me to grow up, get real, and learn from my mistake. I told myself, “Never get bitter again.”

I later moved to Chicago and began studying at the world famous comedy school, Second City. While there, I became aware of other people’s bitterness to the program. Bitterness for not getting cast in a commercial or theatre production, for having to work night shifts, and for not making it as a new cast member on Saturday Night Live. 

Because I had confronted bitterness in my heart, I became aware to the bitterness in others. Ephesians 4:31 tells us to get rid of all bitterness. Easier said than done, right? But if we begin to open ourselves up to being corrected and taught, perhaps we would begin to learn how to forgive and love. Perhaps by asking the Lord to reveal pride and bitterness in our hearts, we would, in turn, begin to reflect the character of Christ. 

I don’t want to choose lemons which are bitter, and acidic. I want to choose other fruit, namely the fruits of the spirit, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Bitterness is not a characteristic of a Christ follower. Each of us has a choice: do you want to be bitter or better?