Retreat road-tripping with your BFF and other highlights.

One of the greatest joys of getting to be a speaker [besides forcing people to laugh at my jokes] is that it has given me reason to bring along some of my best friends as my assistants/table workers/hairdresser/makeup artist/food preparer/body guards, etc. [There’s lots of exaggeration there. Just FYI.]

Pretty much, I get to pay people to be my friends. [Which I have long thought would be an effective way to grow my friend circle… it is just finally time that I get to test that.]

Last weekend I got to take Molly and Haley- this weekend it was just Haley and I taking on the back roads of South Georgia.

Please forgive the situation on my chin. Apparently my skin is feeling the need to really connect emotionally with the teenagers I am speaking to currently. It’s a real joy.

Haley and I scooted south for approximately five hours to hang out with a cool group of girls from Savannah. We had all that we needed in the car- good tunes, good directions, good food, and uh… plenty of time to finish the talks for the weekend. [Sue me. I needed more time last week than I had to make these talks just right. Travel time = workin’ time, y’all.]

It was a really fun weekend- I can’t even tell y’all how many times I pause on weekends like this and say, “Self. You are living your dream job. Don’t screw this up. Seriously, Downs. Don’t.”

[Because sometimes I only listen to myself if I call myself by my last name. You understand, I’m sure.]

All that to say, I’m having a great time.

But alas, today I am mush- hence the reason Monday’s blog post is up at 4pm instead of this morning. After spending two weekends traveling and having busy work weeks in the middle, today is my day off and my body is responded as such.

A leader this weekend told me something I have never ever thought about- she was talking about Jesus’s community and how he ministered to many, trusted a few, and took time alone to rest even though there was always more work to be done.

Any of you out there who have an inbox know the pressure of always having one more email to write or respond to  [can I get an amen from the choir?] or I feel like there is always one more blog post to put up or one more article to write or one more college girl to have coffee with and sometimes I feel like I need to keep going no matter what.

Jesus didn’t do that.

And I’ve spent a lot of time yesterday and today asking Jesus to teach me how to do ministry like he did ministry- knowing when to say yes and when to say no and when to take some time alone.

I got back to Nashville and called some of my best friends, you know them as The Givers. I said, “Can I come over and sit on the couch and watch TV with you but not really talk a lot?” And they said, “Yes. We’re making cookie dough.” And it was perfect. [The time and the TV and the cookie dough. Mainly the cookie dough.]

I love this life- full of road trips with lifelong best friends, prayer times with college girls, speaking truth into teenage hearts, and getting my nails painted to celebrate a day of rest. And cookie dough.

I don’t have everything and my life is not problem free by any means, but today as I’m resting, I’m thinking about all the ways that God has exceeded my expectations. I encourage you to do the same. It will certainly change your Monday perspective.

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Thanks so much for your kind words and comments on the letter I wrote last week. It has been crazy to see how many of us connect with those same worries. While the Lord and I keep discussing that it still would have been better if I would have been brave in the first place- slow obedience is still disobedience, it is my hope that the girl who asked that question has seen or heard the answer by now. Thanks for sharing that post. Y’all are the coolest.

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How has God exceeded your expectations lately?

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