Tag Archives: www.redirected.life

Jesus-Speakers and Paul-Writers: The Power of Words

I’ve never been good with the spoken word. I was deathly shy in high school, speaking as little as possible, except to my closest friends and family. In college I loosened up, got a little more comfortable in my own skin, and began to converse more easily with others. However, I was still ridiculously shy in the classroom setting, doing all in my power not to be called on (lest my face turn so bright red that others would stare and possibly worry about my health).

After college, I married a man (www.chipmattis.com) who is a master of words. In fact, after participating in a church class, our pastor coined him as The Word Jedi, since he always knew just how to pronounce the hard Bible words and always knew how to articulate what was on his mind.

My fantastic, Word Jedi husband is my go-to person when I need to make an important phone call. When we moved to a new town and found a great doctor for the kids but she wasn’t taking new patients, for example.

The nurse told me “sorry, she’s not taking new patients” and I said, “okay, thanks anyway.” My husband, on the other hand, called back and heard “sorry, she’s not taking new patients” but HE thought not yet, that is… and ta-da!

All three kids were new patients by the next day.

Questions concerning confusing medical bills and insurance? I hand him the phone and suddenly everyone is on our side. It’s simultaneously maddening and amazing.

He is the perfect husband for me in part because I can rest assured social situations will always be easier with him nearby. He balances me out and has served as a great example to me, inspiring me to become bolder and more confident in my in-person interactions.

I, on the other hand, have always been more comfortable with the written word. There’s a quote by Flannery O’Conner that hits the nail square on the head. She said, “I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.”


Whenever important issues come up with important people in my life, I always prefer email. And no, not because it’s too intimidating to have serious conversations face to face (which it sort of is, but that’s beside the point…), but because I have to see my words in print to be able to think through what I’m trying to say before I officially say it.

It’s the only way for me to communicate effectively and be sure I’m saying all that I intend to say.

Some people are natural-born talkers. They can have difficult conversations in their sleep and not lose focus or forget what they were going to say.

I am not those people. Sometimes I wonder if I’m even from the same planet as those people.

Do words have power? Absolutely, not doubt about it.

Are words more powerful when spoken or written? Well, just look for a moment at the New Testament.

First we have Jesus himself, who is well known for his crowd-gathering preaching and parables. He was a spoken word man through and through. Powerful? Um, yes… Jesus and all.

And then we have Paul, the author of much of the New Testament. Did you catch that word there? I’ll say it again. Author.

I’m sure Paul did his share of speaking as he traveled around starting churches and sharing the message of Jesus. But what do we know him for today? His writing!

Paul is one of my favorite authors of all time because he demonstrates so clearly the power of the printed word.

I’m sure we are in agreement that there is power in both the spoken and written word.

But when it comes to present day personal interactions? The effectiveness of spoken vs. written word definitely depends on who you are.

Now, there are certainly merits to conversing in person, including making it easier to give someone else the benefit of the doubt, which I go into detail about in my last blog post: https://www.jessiemattis.com/2018/09/21/giving-god-the-benefit-of-the-doubt/ .

But there’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to how people best interact with one another.

I mean, really. What if Paul decided he needed to follow Jesus’s example exactly and so only preached to those in his vicinity? (Although there could be records of Jesus writing letters that I’m just not aware of.) Thank goodness Paul recognized his gift of writing and was able to utilize his parchment and quill to make such far-reaching contributions to eternity!

Let’s allow ourselves to embrace our “spoken word” self or our “written word” self without feeling like we should be one or the other. God created both types of people and will use us each for his great purposes. Isn’t that the main point after all?

Do you relate more to Jesus or Paul’s preferred communication style? I’d love to hear from you, so please leave a comment below. And if you’d like to receive future posts directly to your inbox, please zip over to the “subscribe” button and leave me your email address! Thanks for reading!

4 Ways to Reclaim Your Inspiration

Do you ever get the feeling at the end of a day, week, or even year that life is passing you by without your consent? Without your full participation?

Maybe it feels like life is so full of the must-dos that there’s no time for the want-tos. Maybe you routinely wake up, go to work or school, take care of the house and/or family, and by the time you check off all the boxes of adulting for the day, it’s time to do it all over again.

You find yourself going through the motions of life like a robot with none of the zest for life you had “back in the day.”

“That’s life,” people say.

“You gotta do what you gotta do,” they say as they throw up their hands, feeling as lost as you do.

You’ve lost your motivation because you can’t find your inspiration.

I’ve been there. Much of the toddler years of my kids’ lives felt that way. Maybe due to sleep deprivation. Maybe due to the fact that you can’t form a coherent thought when you’re hanging out with toddlers all day. I’m not complaining—I’ve loved my time at home with my kids, but there are certainly seasons of life more…shall we say…life giving than others.

This is for those of us who lose sight of the inspiration we so desperately need in order to obtain a fulfilling life.

If this is where you find yourself today, or have found yourself in the past, I’m speaking to you. And I’m most certainly speaking to myself.

Four Ways to Reclaim Your Inspiration:

1.  Be still. Some people claim they’re always busy as if it’s a badge of honor. It’s not. You will never find inspiration if your mind is crammed full of everything under the sun.

Make margin in your life—it’s not your job to take care of everything under the sun. Clear your mind long enough to let the peace of God and the voice of the Spirit calm and guide you. This will allow you to remember what really matters and direct your focus.

2.  Speak affirmations. For whatever reason, there is power in speaking truth out loud. Talk back to the negativity that tries to take root in your mind.

Here are a few suggestions to get you started: “I have power, love, and a sound mind.” (from 2 Timothy 1:7), “I delight in God. He fulfills the desires of my heart.” (from Psalms 37:4), or “God fills me with joy and peace as I trust in him.” (from Romans 15:13).

Practice speaking affirmations such as these and you will soon find that you have more confidence in God and in yourself.

3.  Remember what God says. Yes, this sort of overlaps with point #2, except where point #2 focuses more on who YOU are in God, this one suggests focusing more on GOD alone. His timeless truths and promises for our lives.

My favorite way to remember the truths of God is through music. Contrary to popular belief, there actually is a lot of great Christian music out there. (Lauren Daigle is one of my favorites and my 10 year old daughter thought it was Adele when she heard her on the radio!)

Good music is a great way to flood inspiration back into our hearts and minds. Other ways include reading the Bible or reaching out to a friend who can speak the truth of God into your life.

4.  Just do it! (And no, I’m not trying to get into any Nike controversy, I promise.) Sometimes you just have to be bold and do something new or unexpected. Have you been wanting to learn piano for years? No time like the present! Have you been wanting to start a Bible study with your friends? Call them today! Doing new things brings a rush of life back into your soul like few other things can.

My challenge to you (and to myself) is to be proactive and try out these four tips this week—see if some inspiration doesn’t come creeping back into your life. I pray that each of us would breathe new life as we seek to understand the vision and good plans God has for our lives, grab hold with both hands, and not look back.

I would love to hear what you think! Leave me a comment below to share your thoughts! And while you’re at it (if you haven’t already), head on over to the subscribe button and drop your email address so you can receive future posts directly to your inbox. Thanks for reading!



Life Changing Time-Ins

The concept of a time-in was a game changer for me.

If you have young(ish) kids and have never heard of a time-in, then please—keep reading. And if you don’t—also keep reading. (You never know when this might come in useful!)

Several years ago when I was knee deep in cloth diapers and homemade baby food (yes, our first child got all the good stuff. Don’t even ask about the second and third.) I was an avid consumer of parenting books. Most had great nuggets of wisdom I attempted to tuck away into my sleep-deprived brain for another day.

Truth be told, most of those nuggets got lost in the chaos that is my brain. Never to be seen again amidst lost card game instructions, movie plots, and to-do lists.

However, one parenting tip that stuck with me was the idea of a time-in. In case it’s a new idea for you, a time-in is basically the opposite of a time-out, but it works for kids of any age; not just the youngest ones.

I’m pretty sure every parent in America is familiar with the concept of the time-out: you know, wait until child misbehaves, then banish them to a small area where they miss out on the fun that’s going on around them while they reconsider their bad choices and plan for how to make better choices in the future. Uh-huh. Because that’s totally how it goes, right?

In reality (well, my reality anyway) time-outs have looked more like this: pick up screaming child, place them in a certain area away from all the fun, explain the wrongdoings and consequences, plug ears while child continues screaming and doesn’t hear a word you say. Child screams until you either retrieve them or they fall into a sniffley sleep. Does that sound more familiar to anyone else?

The magic of the time-in is that it nips most major meltdowns in the bud. What happens is that you deliberately spend time with your child periodically throughout the day. (It doesn’t have to be lots of time, it can be as little as just ten minutes every few hours, depending on the child.)

By paying deliberate attention to your child, by getting into their world and really focusing on them, you are ensuring that they feel valued, loved, and cared for.

And when a child feels valued, loved, and cared for at the start of a day, they are way less likely to pitch fits throughout the day.

Obviously, it’s not a magic bullet. Tantrums and fits definitely still happen. But I’m here to tell you that time-ins have worked well for us.

When my youngest was a toddler and I was homeschooling my two bigger kids, time-ins were a crucial part of our morning routine. I knew that if I spent just ten minutes playing with and loving on my toddler, she would be way more inclined to toddle around happily while I turned my attention to the big kids for school.

And if I forgot or skipped our time-ins before school? My precious, easy-going toddler would turn super whiney. She would get into everything she knew she wasn’t supposed to be in.

Why? I imagine it’s because she didn’t receive my positive attention to begin with and so resorted to getting my attention however she could.

Now my kids are ages 6,8, and 10 and time-ins are still a necessary part of our days. My kids don’t generally throw tantrums these days (hooray!), but I can still see a difference when they’ve had a little quality time with me or their dad.

They get along with each other better, they complain less, and they’re happy to entertain themselves for quite a while afterward. And then I can pull out my trusty to-do list and get to work!

Pretty powerful results for a pretty simple concept.

Yes, all parents are busy. All parents have a billion and a half things running through their minds at any given moment.

But really—ten minutes. Three times per day.

If you have kids and you haven’t spent ten focused, screen-free minutes with them lately, I challenge you to give it a try. If you have more than ten minutes, by all means spend more focused time with them. I’m challenging myself, too, by the way. In no way do I have this all figured out.

Catch them in the morning before things start to go wrong. Connect with them first and then observe the positive differences in how they deal with their day.

See how drastically time-outs are reduced when time-ins become a part of your daily routine.

And when time-ins and time-outs fail you (as they sometimes will), remind yourself of Psalm 127, 3-4:

“Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him. Children born to a young man are like arrows in a warrior’s hands.”

No matter our moods and attitudes or our children’s moods and attitudes, our children are gifts from God. They are valuable. Precious. Small reflections of Jesus in our very homes. Let’s do our best to treat them as such.

Have you used time-ins with the kids in your life or is this a new idea for you? Leave me a comment to let me know your thoughts! Also, take a sec and head over (or down) to the subscribe button and sign up so you can receive new blog posts straight to your email!

One more thing—I had endeavored not to blog about kids /parenting /homeschooling since there are a bazillion other blogs out there focused on these things. But since it’s all such a part of who I am, those topics will probably start coming up more often. And that’s okay. 🙂 Thanks for reading and have a happy weekend!

The Negative Assumption Trap

I confess: I have spent way too much energy over the years wondering what other people were thinking. And then making (what I deemed to be) the most likely assumptions of what they were thinking when I couldn’t, in fact, know what they were thinking. Usually to my own detriment.

Is this just me, people? For goodness’ sake, if it’s just me then please get me some help.

But I suspect I’m not alone here.

Someone responds to your innocent question with a “tone,” and three miles down your trail of thought later you conclude they must not like you and probably never have.

You walk into a group where everyone greets you except one person – the same person you accidentally cut off in the parking lot. Even though you gave them an apologetic wave at the time, they must be mad at you. Maybe not even speaking to you.

You’re at a party involved in (listening, mostly) a boisterous conversation and everyone’s laughing. You begin to speak when someone interrupts to tell (another) story, louder and more animated than you. Everyone’s attention turns to them. You must not be worthy of sharing your stories – why would anyone want to hear what you had to say after all? You’re not that funny.

Does any of this sound familiar?

Oh my word, it’s exhausting in my brain!

Over the years I’ve gotten a much better handle on this defeating sort of self-talk (most of the time), but in high school it could be almost paralyzing.

I may have never raised my hand a single time in high school. Speak in public? Probably get laughed at for getting something wrong. Ask a question? Probably get laughed at because I should already know the answer.

And if a cute guy seemed flirty? Forget about it. I would convince myself in a nanosecond that his friends put him up to it as a joke at my expense.

Call it paranoia if you want (could’ve been). Maybe social anxiety (I’m pretty sure this is our winner). Whatever it was, it was a problem.

It wasn’t until after college that I truly began to understand how often I was basically inventing backstories and lies regarding what other people were thinking about me. And not just “oh that’s not quite true,” but more along the lines of “wow, that wasn’t even close to the truth.”

I assure you it wasn’t on purpose, it just sort of happened.

Since then I’ve learned to distinguish between reality and false assumptions much more easily. (Well, most of time.) I can generally recognize the negative assumptions before my thoughts spiral downward, and am able get my mind back on the truth track before I actually start believing the falsehoods that pop into my mind.

In an effort to help prevent you from riding the negative assumption train like I did for too long, here are a few reminders to get our minds back on track when we start making negative assumptions about what other people think:

  1. Most people are generally good. It’s only right to give them the benefit of the doubt; it’s insulting to them to assume the worst.
  2. Most people are too busy thinking of themselves to be thinking that hard about me or what I said/didn’t say. This is freeing to me! Also, assuming they’re thinking that hard about me is pretty egocentric.
  3. Whose opinion am I after – theirs or God’s? Hands down, God’s. If I follow his lead and stay on his path, it doesn’t matter a bit if other people like/don’t like it. That’s up to God to work out.

Our thought-life is like a muscle. The part we exercise gets stronger. If we think negative things regularly, it becomes easier and easier to think negatively.

BUT. On the flip side, we can actually train our brains to think more positively. We just have to be extremely proactive about taking each negative thought captive and replacing it with truth. Soon it will come more naturally and we won’t have to try quite so hard.

As 2 Corinthians 10:5 implores us:

“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

Let’s choose to believe the best about other peoples’ intentions (until proven otherwise, at least). Let’s take every thought captive this week and speak truth into our minds. Why would anyone think poorly of us anyway? We rock!

Is this something you’ve struggled with? Leave me a comment to share your story!

Peacemaking vs. Peacekeeping — the Startling Difference

I’ve always thought of myself as a peacekeeper. Don’t make waves, don’t rock the boat, try to keep everyone happy and steady. And I’ve been pretty satisfied with that version of myself over the years.

Until Sunday.

Honestly, having been to church since I was born, I don’t typically come across brand new concepts in church. I mean, there are definitely always new growth points for me, but it’s rare that something is an entirely new idea.

This past Sunday (at City Church for All Nations in Bloomington, Indiana: https://citychurchbloomington.org/ ) I was hit with this new (to me) idea:

We are called to be peaceMAKERS, not peaceKEEPERS.

To the untrained ear (like mine for the past 30+ years), they sound very much the same and are often used interchangeably. The only problem with this is they are not actually synonymous like I (and maybe some of you) previously thought.

You see, to KEEP the peace implies we’re careful about what we say and often careful not to speak up at all in the face of something we may disagree with. We wouldn’t want to make any waves after all. We wouldn’t want to do anything that might cause another person to feel strong emotions. That wouldn’t be peaceful, would it?

While we absolutely should be careful with our words and let wisdom be our guide, telling us when to speak up and when to keep our mouths shut, sometimes we need to make a few waves in order to ultimately MAKE peace.

It’s what the role of a peacemaker is all about:

Making, not just keeping, the peace.

Imagine being married for many years to a spouse that drives you crazy. (Some may have to try harder than others…haha.) Maybe it’s due to little things that add up, or maybe it’s big things we’re too afraid to address.

To keep the peace is simple, if not easy. Keep quiet, keep plugging away at life, all the while building resentment and bitterness toward our spouse on the inside.

To make the peace is not as simple. It may involve a not-so-peaceful period of arguments and hard work as we thoroughly address our issues in order to come out on the other side where true peace resides.

Sometimes we must upset the superficial peace in order to ultimately attain genuine, lasting peace.

Do you know how often the Bible talks about the importance of peacekeeping?

Zero. Zero times.

Our call from God is to make peace, not merely keep it.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.”  Matthew 5:9

Are you up for the challenge of peacemaking? Personally, I’m still deciding.  Only kidding! Mostly… 🙂

Nobody said it would be easy. It will take courage. It will take initiative. It will take practice. But I believe in us. We can do it… with a little help.

I believe the Holy Spirit will guide and help us as we get up out of our comfy cozy comfort zones of peacekeeping in order to pursue peacemaking.

It won’t be easy, but how sweet to be called children of God. If that doesn’t motivate us, what will?

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below! Had you ever considered the difference between peacemaking and peacekeeping before?

While you’re here, head on over to the “subscribe” button – I’d love to give you the latest updates straight to your email!

Thanks for reading!