#outofSortsBook1

One of my favourite aspects of blogging – and I have many –is the blogging community. You are a significant part of my life: your criticism, your push-back, your conversation, your stories, your shared laughter, your “you, too? Me, too!” all makes me feel a little less alone in the world.

Blogging has helped me feel a little less crazy for questioning, for doubting, for wrestling, for noticing the little moments, for celebrating, for learning, for changing, as I wrote my way through my life and you wrote your way through yours. Some of you have your own blogs and others are long-time commenters who have walked a lot of life alongside me and my family over the years. You’re each very dear to me.

I’ve cooked the recipes you shared, I have watched your babies grow up, I have grieved with you in the midst of loss, I have prayed for you so often. I have bought your books, I wrote post after post based on your prompts and synchroblogs. I have tried on your writing voices as I struggled to find my own. I have made many friends and a few enemies. I even found a few life long soul sisters. You’ve changed my mind, softened my heart, toughened my hide, expanded my horizons. You’ve comforted me and angered me. Our little communities, scattered around the world, matter to me.

So during this release week for my second book, I wanted to make a space for us – the bloggers, the commenters, the online communities – to have our say on this subject, too.

I want to hear about your own evolution of the soul. I want to hear your stories of the ways you’ve changed in your beliefs or opinions over the years and I want to hear why.

I think it’s important to continually give each other permission to change and to grow and to know that we’re not alone as we journey in our lives.

Tell me a story about something you used to think and what you think now.

We’re telling our stories of transformation, of the ways we’ve changed and evolved and grown, the ways we’ve changed our minds or our hearts in response to the unchanging Christ. It can be as serious or as light as you want.

I will read each one of your posts and then select one to feature as a guest post here at my blog and that writer will also receive three signed copies of the book to give to their friends or family as they like.

Plus five participants will be randomly chosen to receive a signed copy of my new book.

Here’s how it works:

Write a post on your own blog based on this prompt: “I used to think ____ and now I think ____.”  And tell us a story of how you’ve changed and grown and transformed in your opinions, your theology, your preferences, your doctrine, whatever in response to the unchanging Christ.

Publish your post on your blog.

Then submit the blog post link through the tool at the bottom of this post here that says “Submit your link”

(If you don’t have a blog but want to participate, just leave your response to the prompts in a comment on this post.)

Then please take a bit of time to click around and read other people’s thoughts on the subject, leave a bit of comment love in your wake, make a few new connections, enjoy the community of people who are tapping away at their laptops in coffee houses and kitchens all around the world.

I will read all of the responses and select one of the posts to feature as a guest post here at my blog – that person will also receive three signed copies of the book. Plus I’ll draw five random posts from both the submitted links AND people who comment with their own responses to the prompt and then give those five folks a signed copy of the book also. That way everyone has a chance to participate and to win.

Can’t wait to read your responses!

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  • Brett FISH Anderson

    Thanks so much for this. Wrote my piece last night dealing with Race Conversations in my country moving from important to crucial and what that means – http://wp.me/pGgFO-3sE

    Keep on doing the great work you do
    Love Brett fish

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  • http://www.lindastoll.net Linda Stoll

    Sarah … I’ve been following you for eons and I loved this challenge and your willingness to throw a bit of a party! The writing clarified who I am and helped me dig around to understand why I believe what I do in this season. I’m finding the joy in lots more grace and far less shoulds.

    Your book’s in my Amazon cart along with all manner of Christmas gifts for the kiddos. But the book is MINE and will be well enjoyed long before any of the gifts see the light of day …

    Enjoy the launch! God is good!

  • Heather R. Nelson ツ

    BIG fear, but I did it! WOWSA!!!!

    Thank you Sarah for your generosity in opening up this space for all of us. I am loving the posts I am reading!

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  • Shannon Carrillo

    I used to think homosexuality was a sin, and now I think ALL persons, and their love, are made beautifully in the image of God.

  • Steph E

    This was such a hard post to write because there are SO MANY things I used to think that now have changed! One of the things we talked about several years ago when I was in college was an idea of intellectual humility- recognizing that we could be wrong about what we believe, and being willing to learn, grow and change. So even though growing is uncomfortable, and scary, I’m trying to embrace it!

    • http://www.Theflawedtreasure.com Kristi

      Agreed! And we’ll said, Steph!

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  • http://loveofdixie.com/ Lauren Flake

    Thank you so much for giving us this opportunity to share our hearts with one another!

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  • http://stressandstars.blogspot.com/ Katie

    Oh, Sarah, I LOVED this topic. It dovetailed perfectly with a post I already had half-written for the weekly #wholemama blog linkup I’m involved with, and I loved it!

    You know those blogs where everything about the day just feels lighter once you’ve written it? This was one of those for me.

  • Kristen – Richards

    Sarah.. just wanted to offer my congratulations on your book… It is great and what a sense of accomplishment.. Yay …finally done.. I have left a review on Amazon.. and will write a review on my blog.. and post it to Twitter and my FB feed… Best of luck … and as one writer to another .. know what a slog it can be getting it done… Peace and congrats.. systa…

  • http://williamsoyindamola.blogspot.com/ Oyindamola Williams

    Thank you for this, Sarah. It is quite intriguing that I recently wrote something similar on my blog ( http://williamsoyindamola.blogspot.com.ng/2015/10/what-i-have-been-learning.html ).

    I have been following your blog for a while and honestly it has changed my perception about the online community. To me it was about being seen and being heard but you and some other bloggers I have seen are redefining that. You are building genuine friendships and starting conversations that allow us to not just be seen but to SEE.

    I love it when every time I come on your blog I can find comfort and challenge; as a christian and a writer. I haven’t met you but somehow you have embraced me with your words.

    I am so writing about how my theology has been changing. I will.

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  • http://homemademythology.com/ Heidi Joelle

    Thank you for summarizing so beautifully why blogging is important.

  • Boelle Kirby

    I am looking forward to reading your next book, especially after reading Martin’s comments! In the midst of yet another “I used to think…”, I think I know nothing! I used to think I could make good things happen if I just worked hard enough, helped enough people, was nice enough, etc. I even thought I could make my spirituality and relationship with God happen. Now, after 5 miscarriages, 5 car accidents, losing my teaching and counseling work due to chronic illness–now I think I really have to let go of this stronghold and accept that I am powerless (in a good way, not being a victim) to be the author of my own control of all these things. It has taken a long time for me to pay attention, and I do get distracted easily by my circumstances and fall back into “me making things happen” “theology”, but I am heartened by the small shifts and changes as I learn about trusting God to have God’s heart for me. This current “dark night” that I am in, is not so much about me getting through it and being with God again; God is with me in it, and it is not up to me to work to get through it.

  • Terri Fullerton

    Sarah, thank you for the chance to share our areas of growth and read what each other has posted here. Thank you for your generosity.

  • carameredith.com

    Well, somehow I missed the prompt to the synchroblog, even in the midst of all that launch team communication. I’m posting what I published yesterday, as it most definitely goes along with it, even though it doesn’t contain the starting sentence. :) Or, who knows – maybe I’ll write a new post sometime soon too!

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  • http://www.jamesprescott.co.uk/ James Prescott

    I’m loving these posts. So many amazing posts…and what I see in them all seems to echo my own story.

    We’re all on journeys. We all have doubts. We all have struggles. God seems to somehow redeem our stories…eventually, and in ways we never expect.

    This book, and this sychroblog, are showing me I’m not alone. And for that alone, I am so grateful to you above all Sarah, but also to everyone involved. Thank you so much.

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  • Jordan Taylor

    Just linked mine. Man, it was long… and hard to write. Glad I did it. Thank you, Sarah :)

  • beckyl

    I have been following you on facebook recently and read your blog since I met you last year at a writer’s conference in OR. Good thoughts and enjoy your faith walk and encouragement. i’ve linked my blog post with your prompt this evening. Thanks and God bless you and your family in many ways!

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  • http://www.onemomsguide.com Gina Elder

    Thank you! I’m excited about the post I’m working on for this. How long will this Linky be open?

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  • Kim Belcher Messick

    I was a leader in an independent (but conservative and evangelical) church. I am married and the mother of 3 young adult children. About a year ago, one of them came out to us as bisexual, and had been in a same sex relationship for over a year. What a ride I am on. Talk about beliefs being challenged and my heart being ripped out. Stress in a marriage! Whew. I read some of these blogs in the Linky list and I am just sobbing. I do not feel alone now. I have resigned my position at this church (my choice, not theirs) and find any excuse to NOT go to church right now. I am so angry and hurt. I have always believed the Bible was the inspired word of God and not to question it. Now I do in very deep ways. Thanks for these words that comfort me and give voice to feelings that I am finding hard to express.

    • Deb

      Your story resonates deeply with me. Our child came out this year also. Do you have a support group, a place to process and share? I haven’t found one yet but feel such a need. I used to think I knew how everything was supposed to work but now I think I barely know anything at all.

      • Kim Belcher Messick

        I’m so sorry, Deb. It’s very tough. I do not have a support group. I do have a very good resource. It is odd how God was preparing the way for me. About 3 years ago, as an elder in our chyrch, we began working with a group called LoveBoldly. They try to bridge the gap between conservative churches and the LGBT community. One of the ladies (a gay Christian) and I became very good friends. Even realizing we only lived about 3 miles apart. She has been a wealth of support for me through this. But friendships have changed. Family is a little awkward, but are supportive of her and us, as good as they can be! I’d be happy to be a sounding board for you if you need one. My email is kbmessick@gmail.com if you want to write. I live in Ky. Don’t know if you are near or not. Sending hugs and prayers up for you .

        • Deb

          Thank you for your open and kind reply. LoveBoldly intrigues me; I will follow up on that. God does indeed prepare the way doesn’t He? :-) I will hold onto your email. I think perhaps after the holiday I really would like to talk a bit. I am in KS. Thank you for the prayers; they are spoken over you and yours also!

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  • AnnMarie

    I am responding to your prompt: “I used to think ____ and now I think ____.” And the answer for me would be that I used to think that that I had believe my church’s specific doctrine or I wasn’t really following God (mostly because I was told this). And now I think that I was right before and should follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit and God’s word to make decisions about life and belief. There is much more room for freedom than many of us think. I love the words of Christ that are so relevant here: “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The
    wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell
    where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born
    of the Spirit. ” John 3:5-8
    I have greatly enjoyed your book! It was like a breath of fresh air after a long season of what felt like the desert. Thanks!

    • http://www.Theflawedtreasure.com Kristi

      Thank you for courageously sharing your journey, AnnMarie! I’m so glad you have found the freedom to follow God’s leading! That was a hard lesson for me too.

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  • beckyl

    here’s my link. http://grandmabeckyl.blogspot.com/2015/11/i-used-to-think.html for some reason it’s not on the linky page.

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  • http://www.gracemasters.com Grace Masters

    Well this is fun!

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  • https://krysann.wordpress.com Krysann Sedberry

    I’m a crying basket case now because this is exactly what has been stirring up inside me – that thing I can’t figure out how to get out of my inner and onto the page. I am wrestling and spiraling a little bit with all this *stuff* of faith and God and history and experiences I can’t shake even if I wanted to (but I don’t; hence the spiral). Thank you so much for this prompt and for your words – the more I read the more at home I feel and I cannot wait to cozy up with your newest book!

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  • Stephanie

    I love this so much! Over the past couple of years, God has led me into a renewed understanding of so many things I used to take for granted. Like many of you, I’ve allowed myself to question, doubt, and reexamine much of the theology I had previously taken for granted. One of the most significant shifts in my Christian worldview has been God’s plan for the earth and environmental care. I responded to this blog prompt in the link below. I would love to know your thoughts on this subject as well! Thank you!

    https://stephaniestalvey.wordpress.com/2015/11/10/the-care-and-keeping-of-the-earth/

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  • Ariel Eishen

    How long is this open for, Sarah?

    • http://www.sarahbessey.com/ Sarah Bessey

      For the rest of the month!

  • lauren e hall

    I’m so greatful for the conversation you’re making space for here. Thanks for the invitation to write again. Your faith and your writing shape my faith, my life, and my pastoring.
    http://justwriteitwncc.blogspot.com/2015/11/outofsortsbook.html

  • Melissa Peugh

    “I used to think that God wanted me to suffer and now I think that God wants me to thrive.”

    When I experienced a spiritual awakening in college, I met with Jesus for the first time in my life and all of the passions for people and gifts he had given me began to make sense. Recognizing that Jesus is King meant that my service and care for people finally had some meat on its bones and a true purpose. At this time, I began attending a church that was deeply rooted in Scripture and filled with people who mirrored this passion and concern for the Kingdom of Jesus. I fell in love with this church and immediately took on their theology as my own, without doing the hard work of questioning myself. I began to believe that God was the author of evil and that ultimately, His left hand was healing while His right hand was slaying. I believed wholeheartedly that God was micromanaging every aspect of the world we live in and that His primary goal in this was to receive glory.

    It wasn’t until I moved overseas through a missions organization to be what I would call “a stalker for Jesus” that any doubt came onto the scene. I was living and working in Italy and through choices made by other people, I was abandoned. Only God and the call He had placed on my life remained there with me and I began to have these moments. Moments in which nothing about what I believed made sense in the reality of what I was seeing and hearing and feeling. I saw where the logical conclusion of this theology had taken me and everything within me screamed “No!”. With every measure of grace, God brought me to the end of myself and the pride I had in my knowledge and belief. He brought me back by His unrelenting grace and mercy. He reminded me that love actually looks like love and hate definitely looks like hate and how confused I had been on these points.

    But more than that, God showed me that He is FOR people.

    More than a theology.
    More than a movement.
    He is true to Himself and He is a fierce lover of people.

    So He held me in His arms while I licked the wounds of my shattered pride and He nursed me back to life. So for the rest of my small life, I will give Him the credit for healing me and none of the blame for what I have done to myself.

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  • Kara Evans

    Entered My response into Linky -#114 Living in the Grey – to read click on Sarah Bessey Prompt at the top of the page – Password Sarah.

    VERY Personal Response I am not quite ready to share with all my local readers. But a response I do think needs to be shared.

    http://karajane92.wix.com/sophisticatedchic

    Best,

    K

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  • April

    Here is mine. It’s on a totally dead blog that no one reads but my mum!!! Ha ha…
    http://www.timelineofgrace.co.uk

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  • brooke marie

    brookemariewrites.wordpress.com

  • Libby

    I just started your Out of Sorts book & never have read your writing before – although a friend gave me Jesus Feminist because she said “this reminds me of you” last week.

    How did I not know in my world – your voice? Just finished the first three chapters last night & was hit hard by the reference of French Philosopher Paul Ricoeur.

    I wrote a blog awhile ago about how I used to believe if I was “good” and play it safe – God would “bless me” and in my mind – be good. That was ruined when I experienced four years of infertility in my mid-twenties. Here is the post I published: http://www.milestoeden.com/blog/2015/11/20/i-used-to-think-religion-and-now-i-think-grace-outofsortsbook-synchroblog

    Sarah, thank you… thank you for the freedom of JESUS.

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  • Tiffany Norris

    I’m a bit late for the link-up but wanted to post here anyway. These have been so encouraging! http://www.tiffanynorris.com/a-sanctuary-safe-and-strong/

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