Dear Fellows,

As I write this, the date is March 27th. That means it’s been almost seven months exactly since we all moved to Nashville, met at that very memorable BBQ, and jumped headfirst into figuring out what exactly it means to be a “fellow.” Well guess what- we are going to make it. Some of us may be close to running on fumes and in need of a little encouragement in order to reach month 9. I’ve compiled some words of my own, plus a few words written by others, and some songs that I hope give you a little extra fire to keep going. 

1. Remember that you are more than just “one of the fellows.” Your own personhood matters. Author Emily Freeman wrote something about that here.  

2. Know what’s scary but should still be tried anyway. 

3. “Though and Through” was a song I listened to a lot in college when things were particularly tough. Well, this is a ‘Through and Through” type season. It’s hard and still new and we’re not sure how to navigate everything or take on the various roles we’re placed in. But there is growth happening and this is what growing up looks like.

4. Don’t expect validation from broken people. It will end in a mess every time. Jesus is the only one who can keep you truly safe and filled up, who will not and cannot fail you or walk out.  There’s a sweet, merciful, and loyal God up there who sits within you and over you and fights for you. The Lone Bellow sings these words that I hope become a prayer for you, “Watch over us. When my hands are tired and my strength is gone.” 

5. Don’t give the beast that is comparison so much power and authority over your whole day and feelings. Tiny taps on a glass screen do not and should not define your worth. Neither should your life plans held up next to someone else’s make you feel ‘less than.’ Keep comparison (specifically social media) tied up in its box with limits and time restrictions. Instead, let the genuine words of people, face-to-face conversations, and the love of God run amuck and unbound in your life. 

6. You are stronger than you think. Philippians 4:13 says so. 

7. Your identity is not in your job role (or lack of one). It’s in the cross.

8. You know this whole big plan you’re part of? Remember that it’s not your own. Hannah Brencher writes some words on trust here.

You’re not the driver; you’re just the one who leans left. –HB

9. “We’ll be just fine.” –West by Sleeping At Last 

10. You are young. Everyone goes through this. 

11. Don’t listen to the voices that box you out and tell you lies. Keep the truthful voices close by. 

12. You were pieced together by the most gentle of hands, and you were designed for something eternal. –T.B. LaBerge

13. Dreams are bigger with Jesus. The world can’t box Him in. If you need proof of that, again, just look at the cross.  

14. Choose joy. 

15. Take a deep breath and remember there’s breath in your lungs. Then remember who put it there. You are not an accident. 

16. Don’t give fear the megaphone. Let hope have it instead. 

17. Have courage. Taylor Tippet strung together some beautiful words about that here

18. I hope that at the heart of whatever you are looking for, you find Jesus there. –T.B. LaBerge

19. Don’t discount the value of growth, no matter how gradual. I suggest you listen to North by Sleeping At Last.

20. You are seen, known, and heard. You have a worth far beyond what this world has told you, for you are loved. From morning till night, you are loved. –T.B. LaBerge

Sincerely, 

Hales

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