To-Do Lists, Todays, and Tomorrows


It has been a long week, made that way by anxiety, stress, and a subsequent lack of restful sleep. These weeks come along to me regularly for some reason. I suppose (perhaps) because my brain isn’t wired to always handle everything that comes my way; I mean, I look at other people and they appear to be handling the same amount of ‘life’ in a more effective way. So I wonder, what’s up with me?

I spent a good deal of time this week pondering that exact question, and I think the answer (or at least an answer) has crept out from the back of all the chaos and said, “Hey…psssst…over here.” And this is what it had to say:


That’s all. Expectations.

Hmmm. So, I and the brave little messenger whispering about expectations sat together and looked at each other for a very long while. Let’s see… I stressed about my new work schedule because I didn’t expect it to ever change; about a close friend who never reaches out anymore because I expected she always would; about my MDiv classes because I don’t know what to expect from myself, other students, or my instructors.

Or maybe the real reason I stress about classes is because I expect straight A’s in a world that isn’t about grades, rather learning and growing, extending beyond expectations. What would my life look like without all those expectations?

“And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full” (Luke 6:34 NIV). I provide my services to my employer, my thoughts to friends, my classroom efforts to teachers, and I – albeit subliminally – have a set of expectations based on those actions. How much of my stress would be relieved if I simply reached out to that distant friend without any expectation of return (or type of return) simply because I love her? If I gave without the expectation of repayment, but out of love?

“Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes” (James 4:14 NIV). Stress apparently happens – for me, anyway – when I begin expecting more than an action, a person, a choice, a life lives up to.

I find myself thinking that living without expectations sounds impossible, but maybe that’s just an easy out because, honestly, I haven’t really even tried. And, I certainly haven’t talked to God to get his thoughts on it. So… yeah… maybe I need to be more concerned with my own actions than those I expect out of others. Ow. That hit home.

Looking over my to-do list, I’ve set a new goal for today. I will whittle away at my class assignments in order to come closer to God and discern his influence on my actions and reactions to life, instead of simply completing work for the purpose of getting an A in return.

Well, okay. That feels less stressful already.


Side note:

My dearest friend compiled a list of quotes to encourage me as I work on my Masters in Divinity. Today’s quote is,

“Sometimes our light goes out, but is blown again into instant flame by an encounter with another human being.”

I would add encounters with the Holy Spirit to that as I felt my light reignited today not only by dearest friend, but also Dr. Amy Butler’s most recent blog post that I “stumbled” across this morning:

“Sometimes it’s not just exceptional creativity, deep and profound insight, or even all that much intelligence that gets you to the end of the race. Sometimes, it’s just tenacity.”

Talk With the Preacher

Currently Reading



“Life is turbulent. On that, we can all agree. Disappointed dreams, broken relationships, identity crises, vocational hang-ups, wounds from the past—there are so many ways life can send us crashing up against the rocks.

In this deeply personal book, Jonathan Martin draws from his own stories of failure and loss to find the love that can only be discovered on the bottom. How to Survive a Shipwreck is an invitation to trust the goodness of God and the resilience of your soul. Jonathan’s clarion call is this: No matter how hard you’ve fallen, no matter how much you’ve been hurt, help is on the way—just when you need it most.

With visionary artistry and pastoral wisdom, Jonathan Martin reveals what we’ll need to make it through those uncharted waters, how we can use these defining experiences to live out of our depths, and why it will then become impossible to go back to the half-life we once lived.”

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”

Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

Mumbai Morning

© Kimberly Jasper 2016 All Rights Reserved

On a typical morning in the over-crowded slum of Annawadi located next to the Mumbai airport, the people wake early to begin another day of trying to secure their existence. Those with homes – extremely small, tenuous constructions of something once resembling fabric or cardboard – are thankful they have any shelter at all.

Read more

Growing Pains

Found an excellent blog post on questioning, deconstructing, and reconstructing one’s faith. An excerpt is below, but the entire post can (and should!) be read at Experimental Theology. This is one part in a series of posts, so it may be helpful to read previous entries.

Faith must and will go through the fires. In the words of Paul, when our faith was a child it talked like a child, thought like a child and reasoned like a child. Faith has to grow up and put childish things behind it. But that can be painful. There are attractive things about a childish faith. It’s simpler. It’s consoling. It’s certain. To grow up in faith is to step into complexity, ambiguity, uncertainty and anxiety. And there are times when we wish we could turn back the clock of faith, to go back to simpler times.

But you can’t go back. I often tell my students that there is a threshold of doubt, that once you start asking certain sorts of questions there is no going back. When it comes to faith there is a class of questions that, once you get to them, just don’t have any answers. When you reach these questions you’ll live with them for the rest of your life.

Richard Beck, Experimental Theology


Currently Reading



I’ve just started to read Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo (2012) and it has already turned my worldview upside down. I thought I knew poverty existed. I knew nothing. I have a feeling I’ll be writing more as I continue to experience this most moving piece of nonfiction, but am including a few links below to tide over your curiosity in the meantime.

  • Official site for the book, including discussion guide and author interview
  • An interview with Katherine Boo from 2014
  • A two-minute video from Random House of Annawadi, the Mumbai slum featured in the book

Tuesday Terminology


A lectionary is a schedule of Bible readings that are used in worship throughout the year.

The Revised Common Lectionary can be found online as a service of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library. Each scriptural entry also includes related art, hymns, and prayer.

Lamentations 3:19-24

I remember my affliction and my wandering,

the bitterness and the gall. 

I well remember them,

and my soul is downcast within me.

Yet this I call to mind

and therefore I have hope: 

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,

for his compassions never fail. 

They are new every morning;

great is your faithfulness.

I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;

therefore I will wait for him.”



© Kimberly Jasper 2016 All Rights Reserved

Drop Thy still dews of quietness,
Till all our strivings cease;
Take from our souls the strain and stress,
And let our ordered lives confess
The beauty of Thy peace.

Breathe through the heats of our desire
Thy coolness and Thy balm;
Let sense be dumb, let flesh retire;
Speak through the earthquake, wind, and fire,
O still, small voice of calm.

Taken from Dear Lord and Father of Mankind, a hymn with words taken from the poem The Brewing of Soma by John Greenleaf Whittier.


Pentecost by El Greco 1596

O Spirit of the living God,

thou light and fire divine,

descend upon thy church once more,

and make it truly thine.

Fill it with love and joy and power,

with righteousness and peace;

till Christ shall dwell in human hearts,

and sin and sorrow cease.

Henry H. Tweedy, 1933

Ascension Sunday

© Kimberly Jasper 2016 All Rights Reserved

So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?” He replied, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” 

Acts 1:6-11 NRSV