Blog | Lindsey Smallwood

Feeling Lonely is Not the Same as Being Alone

Lindsey SmallwoodComment

This isn't the first time I've written on loneliness. It probably won't be the last. No matter how many connections I make, people I befriend, babies I birth, I think learning to be alone is one of the deep joys, true sadnesses and profound challenges of my life. (There aren't many things I can say that about!) I'm thrilled to be back at Middle Places with thoughts on solitude, extroversion and why Jesus always gets to ride shotgun. 

For someone who's never alone, feeling lonely happens way more than you might think.

I'm raising two toddlers, so on any given day there's a lot of cuddling and carrying and breaking up wrestling matches.

I work part-time at a church, where I lead Bible studies, meet with women and use shared office space.

I'm an extrovert and my free time includes things like workout classes, mom's group and book club.

I'm married, which in my case means I sleep close enough to my husband to feel him breathe.

And add to all that, I'm pregnant, so even when I actually am alone, I can feel a tiny person swimming around inside me.

And yet, even with all of these daily connections, I find myself wondering about the quality of my relationships at church, in my friendships, with my family. Though I'm grateful for all the places I'm connected in this season of life, I find myself searching for more because I'm feeling lonely.

Continue reading at Middle Places by clicking here

How to Find Joy When Someone Else Gets What You Want

Lindsey SmallwoodComment

When your friend gets a book deal and you get crickets on a blog post, how do you keep going with joy? I'm writing today for the first time over at iBelieve.com on jealousy, comparison and what prosperity really means. 

My friend just wrote a book.

She sent me an advance copy and it is perfect. Sharp, witty storytelling, incisive ideas, a darling cover with cool, scripty font. I loved holding the result of all of her hard work in my hands, posting a glowing Amazon review and texting her my enthusiastic congratulations.

I hate what happened next, the feelings coming in a flood, each one all too familiar.

Jealousy.
Fear.
Self-doubt.

Whether it's cheering on a friend for accomplishing a lifetime dream or seeing an Instagram pic of a gorgeous birthday cake my neighbor made for her husband, I find myself constantly comparing my life to those around me, wondering how I measure up. Will a publisher ever offer me a book contract? Why did she get that opportunity when I didn't? Does my husband care that he got a burned cake from a box mix on his special day? Beneath those are deeper, more persistent questions...

Continue reading at iBelieve by clicking here.

Listen & Learn: Philemon & Colossians Weekly Talks (Audio Files)

Lindsey Smallwood

Last week I announced the publication of my new Bible study guide book - Philemon & Colossians: In Christ Alone. It's been so fun sharing it with all of you. There are still copies available with special discounts and free shipping for small groups.

This week, I'm thrilled to share a bonus component for the five week study on Philemon & Colossians - audio files of the weekly talks you can stream or download to use in your small group. Each talk is 10-20 minutes long and contains insights into the chapter, along with some personal stories and other Scripture connections. 

Thanks for reading and listening along!

Note: You're welcome to listen along even if you're not doing the study. Just know that on week 1, I spend the first 5 and 1/2 minutes tackling some study-related administrative stuff - so if you're only looking for Scripture talks, fast forward to 5 min, 30 seconds into the Philemon message and you'll be good to go!

Want to know more about the book? Check out Philemon & Colossians: In Christ Alone here

Note: You're welcome to listen along even if you're not doing the study. Just know that on week 1, I spend the first 5 and 1/2 minutes tackling some study-related administrative stuff - so if you're only looking for Scripture talks, fast forward to 5 min, 30 seconds into the Philemon message and you'll be good to go!

Want to know more about the book? Check out Philemon & Colossians: In Christ Alone here

What I Pray for My Children

Lindsey SmallwoodComment

I want a lot for my kids.

I want happy days playing in the sunshine and the chance to for them to learn to ride a bike. I want memories made by the pool on long summer afternoons and the joy of conquering winter’s biggest sledding hill.

More importantly, I want them to develop in all the right ways. Physically, relationally, intellectually, spiritually. I long for their little lives to flourish, growing into their full potential as people, loving God and loving others the way they were made to love.

But raising kids is not another project.

If you want to write a book, you set a goal of two chapters a week, clear some time in your calendar and get after it. If you want to lose 20 pounds, you throw away the chocolate and reacquaint yourself with the elliptical machine. Turning tiny humans into actual full-fledged adult humans is different, because:

  1. it takes 18+ years, and,
  2. ultimately they get to decide how much they will develop.

Continue reading at Middle Places by clicking here.

How to Start a Summer Book Club

Lindsey SmallwoodComment

...in which I share about our super fun summer friend group and invite your own group to dive into the book I wrote this spring!

Summer is my favorite. 

I know there are people who live for crunching leaves in the fall, those who can't wait to hit the ski hills every weekend in the winter and the gardeners among us who live for spring's planting season. But oh man, for me, summer is where it's at. 

I love short sleeves and sunshine, days spent at the pool or the beach and the long hours of daylight that somehow make you feel like anything is possible. Some of my best memories are summer memories, like the time I decided to work at a circus camp for 12 weeks or the year I drove cross country with six friends in a mini-van.

Last summer my family and I had just moved to Colorado a few months before. We were settling into life in our new home when all of sudden, summer appeared. And when summer started, everything else ended. My Mom's Group. My Bible Study. The Community Playgroup I'd joined. All of my regular activities went on hiatus. So I knew I needed something more. 

I decided to start a summer book club.

Here's how:

1) Ask some people.

For real. Just put yourself out there. It's as easy as sending some emails. I asked a random assortment of women I'd met in different places since we moved. Some already knew each other and some didn't. A few said no - but most said yes! Many of them have since told me how thankful they were that I was willing to go first so our little group could be born. 

2) Choose a time.

Figure out what works for everyone. Everyone I asked had young kids, so we decided to meet in the morning so our kids could play outside while we talked. If you're working, night-time probably works better. 

Some of my super fun summer book club friends - and a few of our teeny-tinies.

Some of my super fun summer book club friends - and a few of our teeny-tinies.

3) Find a spot to meet. 

We live in the dorms. Much as I love to play hostess, there's literally not room in our place for 10 other women and their kiddos. But that's okay! I still started the group, even without knowing where we'd all meet together. Before our first meeting, I send out a question about ideas on where to meet and a couple of the gals volunteered their homes. 

4) Pick a book.

There are so many great books out there. You could go fiction (The NightengaleWhere'd You Go, Bernadette? and Me Before You are some recent faves) or non-fiction (I always recommend The Geography of Bliss and Boys in the Boat is a great one).  Last summer we decided to go the get-to-know-you route and do a small group workbook on friendship by Stephanie May Wilson. It was fabulous.  

If you're interested in a more spiritual selection, there are so many great reads to choose from. But if I may - this is where I invite you to pick me!

Over the winter, I wrote a Bible study guide for small groups on the New Testament books of Philemon and Colossians, which are fascinating letters with ideas about identity, calling and living in community. This spring 60 women in our church piloted the study in small groups. And now, I'm thrilled to bring it to all of you!

The book is designed to be completed in 5 weeks, although those who prefer to move at a slower pace could easily do it in 10 instead. There are chapter introductions, daily homework, devotional reflections, and small group questions. In addition to the book, there are short talks for each chapter (soon to be available here) which you can stream or download for personal or small group use. And, just for fun, I've created adult coloring pages which you'll receive as a free download when you order.

If you're thinking about a summer book club - just do it! And if you're interested in using my new Bible Study guide, I'd love to send you one. They're available for individual purchase by using the link below, or contact me with larger orders, I offer discounts and free shipping for small groups! 

Happy Summer! Here's to good time with your people in the months to come.

Order Your Copy of Philemon & Colossians: In Christ Alone