About Hanna

www.dearhanna.com // Writer, educator, & enthusiast of the high school through college years. Student Enrichment Coordinator @BelmontUniv. Clear eyes. Full hearts. Can't lose.

So you’re busy?

a-stressed-business-woman-looks-tired-she-answer-telephones-in-her-officeNo one’s impressed.

I will never forget those words my mom spoke to me while I sat at the kitchen table. It may seem harsh, but that’s my momma. Speaks truth like it is. No sugar coating. Straight to the heart. She has the discernment to know when you can take it straight and when you might need it wrapped in a hug.

No one is impressed by how busy you are.

For the last two weeks, I’ve been insanely busy. Now, my schedule is normally full but the last two weeks were over the top, out of control. I’ve been surviving. Barely. Not enough sleep. Not enough quality time with my husband. Not enough quality time with my God. Not enough rest. And definitely not enough quality time with any of our friends or family. In the slew of my busyness, everyone was getting the short stick. Including me. At some point along the way, you and I believed our culture’s lie that busyness is godliness. If you aren’t busy, you’re not important. You’re not hustling enough. You’re not contributing enough. You’re not valuable enough. You’re not enough.

Being busy is king. We think our crazy schedules should be admired. People should recognize how busy we are and realize how important and impressive we are.

So what does being too busy really mean?

It means you’re a slave to your schedule. It means you aren’t prioritizing well. It means you aren’t letting go of things that need to be let go. It probably means you aren’t spending quality time with the people you love. It definitely means you aren’t taking care of yourself.

No one is impressed by how busy you are.

So how do you and I get out of the busy trap?

1. Stop glorifying your busy schedule. Remind yourself that no one is impressed.  Being busy doesn’t mean you’re superwoman.

2. Say no. That two-letter word can be so hard to say, but if you’re too busy, say it.  Say no to everything, and I do mean everything, until you start feeling balanced again.

3. Look at how you’ve been spending your time and see what top priorities you’ve been neglecting. For me the last two weeks, those top priorities were time with my face in the Bible, quality time with my husband,  set time to actually rest/relax, and working out (aka taking care of myself).  I can’t expect to feel like I’m doing more than barely surviving if I’m not doing those things. Yet, those are always the first things to go when my schedule gets busy. That’s just plain insanity.

So, let’s stop the insanity.  Stop the busyness.  As my momma would say, “No one’s impressed anyway.”

Now, do you need a hug?

Facing rejection

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Whether we’re jocks, musicians, actors, or mathletes, at some point in our childhood, we began the process of “trying out” for teams or auditioning for certain roles or opportunities.

Eventually, we all experienced rejection. You didn’t make the varsity squad or get the role you wanted in your high school play. You didn’t get accepted into your first-choice college.  You didn’t get the internship you wanted.  You didn’t get the job.

The longer we live life, the more we will face rejection.

But what if rejection doesn’t have to be taken personally?

When I was in high school, a musical theater director of mine introduced me to his personal theory I like to call The Bagel Theory.

Hear me out.

All of us musical theater kids, we were all bagels. My friend Chloe was a chocolate chip bagel; My friend Anna was a sesame bagel; I was a blueberry bagel.  You get the idea.  We were all great bagels, but we were each a different kind of bagel.

When auditioning for a certain role, Chloe, Anna, and I could all be up for the same part.  We would all be uniquely great for the role, but at the end of the day, the casting director was looking for a certain type of bagel.  Chloe may get the gig because they were looking for a chocolate chip bagel.  It didn’t mean that Anna or I weren’t amazing bagels. We just weren’t the bagels they were looking for.

Suddenly, getting rejected for a part wasn’t a judgement of our talent or abilities, it was just a reflection of someone else’s preferences.

While I don’t audition for musical theater roles anymore, The Bagel Theory, has truly shaped how I look at every application, interview, or opportunity I seek.

Now here’s where I like to combine The Bagel Theory with The Sovereignty of God.

My job is to work hard, be prepared, and show up for the opportunity. I just need to be the best darn blueberry bagel God has created me to be.  Then, if this is the right job, internship, college, or other opportunity for me, God will take care of the rest!

So now when I am rejected, not only is it not a reflection of my value, but I can trust in God’s Sovereignty, that it just wasn’t His best for me!

But you can always find someone who is better, stronger, smarter, faster, prettier than you.

Totally. I’m not trying to ignore the fact that every person is given a unique set of skills and abilities.  But that’s just it.

God has given you a unique set of skills, talents, and abilities!

And He is going to open the doors to opportunities that He has planned out for you.  He’s also going to close doors that you and I think are perfect for us, when He has other plans in mind.

The longer I live, the more and more thankful I am when God closes a door. I only want to be exactly where He wants me to be. Rejection is no longer a reflection of my worth.  It’s a reflection of God’s sovereign hand over my life.

Singles Awareness Day

SADI never had a boyfriend on Valentine’s Day. For 28 consecutive years, February 14th came and went without a boyfriend.

Last year, I had a finance and this year I have a husband. But I managed to completely skip the whole Valentine’s Day with your boyfriend experience.

Last summer, Shauna Niequist wrote a blog I could only dream of having written.

You are significant with or without a significant other.

And that’s what I want to preach from the roof top to all my single ladies out there.

Don’t buy into the world’s lie that Valentine’s Day is just just a cruel way to shine the spotlight on those who aren’t in a romantic relationship. Resist the urge to make plans with a bottle of wine to celebrate “Singles Awareness Day”.

Why? Because you aren’t lacking.

Somehow Valentine’s Day has become a day about whether you “have” or “have not”.

If you have a significant other, then it’s your day to celebrate.  If you “have not”… well then this day is for you to be reminded of that. Our culture tells you that you are lacking.

But you aren’t lacking anything.

I’m not trying to dismiss the desire to be in a romantic relationship. We are wired for human connection. We possess a God-given craving for love. But your worth, your value, your wholeness has nothing to do with whether or not you have a boyfriend.

You, are unique, exquisitely made, chosen and dearly loved by the Creator of the Universe, who also gave you a one-of-a-kind thumbprint and purpose in this life.

None of that changes based on whether or not you have a romantic relationship to share that with.

For some reason, we have given power to others to determine our worth.  Or maybe we actually do know our worth, but we just want someone else to recognize it too– in a way that makes him send flowers, plan fun dates, and eventually buy a very expensive ring to tell the world how wonderful you truly are.

While all of those things are lovely, no one else adds to your worth or subtracts from you worth.  If I had let my husband be a determining factor of my worth, he would be carrying a weight way to heavy for him to bear.  The pressure that would put on our marriage on a daily basis is unimaginable.  A successful relationship is two whole people coming together, not looking for the other to determine or add to their worth.

You are whole and valuable because your Creator decided you are. End of story. In Jesus, you lack nothing.

So forget “Singles Awareness Day”.  Resist the lie that our culture screams.  It’s not about “have” or “have not”, it’s about knowing who you are, who God has made you to be, and believing that you are fully valued. Period.

Deal Breaker: His Church Denomination

3-old-fashioned-steeple-church-in-winter-corey-hochachka“But how (insert church denomination here) is he?”

I’ve heard this question three times in the past month. A group of girls gabbing about a new guy of interest, when eventually his church affiliation comes up. All three times, the man being discussed is a church member in a different denomination than the gal who’s interested.

But how Baptist is he?

But how Lutheran is he?

But how Church of Christ is he?

But how Pentecostal is he?

You get the idea. Each time the conversation ends with the conclusion that this denominational difference might be a deal breaker.

There are a lot of reasons we could list that I believe are valid deal breakers when dating someone, but let me suggest that his church denomination should not be one of them.

I realize we are looking for a compatible life-partner and part of compatibility is agreeing on a church together. However, deciding that someone isn’t “the right fit” purely based on his church-affiliation seems so ironically wrong.

When we get down to the bottom of it, our church affiliation boils down to two things: preference and theology.

You attend your church because it fits your preferences.

Some of us love liturgy. Some of us love to jump up and down and raise our hands during worship. Some of us just care about the sermon.  Some of us want the sermon to be entertaining or feel good. Some of us want it to be intense and academic. Some of us prefer hymns. Some of us love it when we sing songs from the radio. Some of us want our church to play major roles in global missions or justice missions or environmental issues. I could go on.

The point is it’s your preference.  And your preference is not any better or more right than his preference. If choosing a church is going to be the greatest struggle you have in your marital years, then HALLELUJAH. What a great way for you both to consider each others’ needs and pick a church together.

You (might) attend your church because you agree with it’s theology.

Many times, people don’t even know the real nitty gritty of their denomination’s theology.  So, before you write off someone else because they aren’t the same denomination as you, perhaps it’s time for you to truly dig into what your church believes and why it believes it and give the other person a chance to share what they believe. It might not be exactly what you thought.

So what if there are real theological differences? Isn’t that a deal breaker?

Maybe. It depends. The truth is that you are going to be hard pressed to find someone that completely agrees with you on everything you believe. That may seem horrifying, but let me put it this way.

You are not 100% right. There is no way that you are totally correct on everything you think and believe when it comes to our God and the Bible. There are incredibly godly men and women, folks who have devoted their life to studying God’s Word, who fall all over the spectrum on major theological differences. That leads me to believe that it’s okay for us to not 100% agree on every tiny detail.  Do we need to agree on major theological points like the gospel, the Trinity, the validity of Scripture? Yes. However, I think too often we allow minor theological differences to become major gaps between us.

Here’s the deal. The reason I think it is so ironically wrong to dismiss someone based on their denomination is that it seems to go against everything God would desire for us. God’s design is for His followers to be one body, heirs of one household, citizens of one kingdom, one faith, serving one Lord. (1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 2 + 4)

Instead of fretting over “how can this work?” if he’s Methodist and you’re Southern Baptist, consider if perhaps God is wanting to stretch your view of what His Kingdom really looks like.

Regardless of our church-style preferences (and even many of our theological differences–gasp), all Jesus-followers will be in heaven one day praising the same God together. I think we’ll do it all– liturgy, hymns, silence, shouting, hands raised, no instruments, orchestras, rock bands, dancing– all of it.

So maybe, just maybe, we can date and even marry someone who has been loyal to a different denomination than we have on this earth. Perhaps it’s time to expand our view of what God’s kingdom looks like and loosen our grip, just a bit, on the preferences we hold so tightly.

Say no.

bad date

In my post two weeks ago, I talked about the need for women to say “yes” when asked out on a date by a good guy.  When I wrote that post, I was writing to a certain kind of woman. I was also writing to 23-year old me.

Until about the age of 27 (and even following), I was looking for a brunette male, 6’4″, handsome, with a sharp wit, who loved Jesus. I didn’t think that was too much to ask.  I didn’t have a list of 100 items. Just 5: Tall, hunky, brown, hilarious, Jesus-lover.  Yet somehow that list of 5 things was almost impossible for any guy to meet. So, 99% of the time, I said “no” to great guys without ever giving them a chance and getting to know them.

It took the poking and prodding of two close, older/WISER women, who suggested I was looking for the “wrong guy” and God doing quite a number on my heart before I was ready to “say yes” to my future-husband when he asked me out on our first date.  The only reason my husband and I are married, is because I had my “say yes” rule and he got that first date.

Though I firmly stand behind what I wrote in that post, I also need to address that not every woman needs to “say yes” more.  In fact, some women need to “say no” more often. In the words of CS Lewis, some of us are “like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because (s)he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea.” Harsh? Yes. Truthful? Dead on.

Some of us are content dating mud pies when God has something entirely better in mind for us.

My friend, Stephanie May Wilson, wrote the perfect blog this week to sum it up. Let’s make sure we’re saying “yes” to the good guys and giving them a chance, but saying “no thank you” to the mud pies. It’s time to trust God has something better in store for you.


The 5 Guys You Don’t Want to Date

1. The one who won’t commit

You’re talking to a guy, acting like you’re dating even, but no matter how much time passes, or what happens, it seems like he’s never willing to fully commit. Every time you talk about it, trying to super gently bring it up, he talks around it. He has reasons why you shouldn’t be exclusive, or even better, reasons why titles totally don’t matter.

And because you like the guy so much, or because you want the relationship to work so badly, you continue to wait. You wait, and you hope, and you settle for this weird middle ground where no promises have been made, and no accountability exists.

But it’s fine. Right?

The truth is that if a guy wants to be your boyfriend, he will be your boyfriend. People who want to commit generally do. Not only that, but you deserve someone who wants to be with you. You deserve someone who wants you to be theirs, who wants to make a commitment to you, who wants to be exclusive. You deserve to be chosen. Bottom line.

Read the rest…