The Kingdom of God is like a Line with No Order

I can’t really pinpoint the moment I met Meredith on the internet. But I am glad I did. This is not the first time I have been very impressed with her writing. It certainly won’t be the last. Meredith is on my writers to watch list for sure. I didn’t plan it, or tell her, but I think this peice captivates scarcity thinking and the freedom of abundance perfectly. Consider this day 9 of my 31 days of scarcity.

The Kingdom of God is like a Line with No Order

A line curved out the door of my church and wrapped around the block. I hadn’t intended to stop at the church, but driving past this event, I found myself pulling over and parking on the side of the road. Frankly, I had never seen this many people here ever. Not even the Sunday my pastor preached a sermon from the roof (a story for another day). 

A few women pulled blue coolers and children along with them as the line inched forward, leading to something through the double red doors of the church; people were piling into God’s house. The June day paraded around like one in mid August, cloaked in heavy, humid air. The voices and sounds outside the church layered on top of one another, the sounds of caps popping off bottles joining low resonant voices, all punctuated by the high squeals of children’s laughter. Sweaty in my car, I watched out of suburban curiosity of the unknown, watching the citizens of the line.

I could not tell where one family started and another family ended, or which children belonged to which adults.  Kids wove in, around, and through the line, running and taunting one another, while the parents watched them together. A sign stuck in the church lawn announced the presence of the Mexican consulate helping with “los pasaportes.”

The body language of those waiting in front of our white-steepled church gave no tell of the stakes of the line, of what hung in the balance on this summer afternoon. I thought of the lines I had waited in at movie premiers or the Gap with crossed arms, policing my surroundings for budgers and those with over-complicated questions and demands taking more than their fair share.

I watched a boy being chased through the churchyard, his head not reaching the waist of most of the adults around him. Then, looking over his shoulder as he tried to escape, he ran right into an elderly man’s legs. At first the boy backed away, his eyes darkening with concern, but the man put his hand on the boy’s shoulder and just laughed, a full throated, head thrown back laugh, making the boy ease into a giggle too, which quickly assuaged the kid’s concerned mother who had come to fetch him. The man picked up the boy and began to talk with the mother, inviting her into his spot, earlier up in the line.

My peers taught me from an early age that lines are about status. I have memories of my kindergarten classroom, waiting in line to receive a waxy Dixieland cup full of lukewarm water and a hand-full of Teddy Grahams. I peered over the shoulders in front of me to make sure Mrs. Cummings had enough for me, counting back to see where I fit in the line, losing track somewhere around ten. I oversaw the portions given to each of my classmates, no longer friends, but competitors making the level of Teddy Grahams go down, down, down in the plastic canister.

The woman with the small boy had made it to the red doors now, and she hadn’t moved back to her place in line yet. I worried that someone would embarrass her or ask her to move, the way I’ve seen old men do at Starbucks and deli counters. If they don’t shout it, they mumble to their party or whoever will listen, “Do you see this person cutting in front of me?”  Lines are full of the implied rules of justice and fairness, and we patrol those around us to uphold these laws. We make sure no one takes what is not rightfully theirs or, more importantly, rightfully ours.


It’s not just a problem of our capitalist society. The disciples worried about their spot in line too. Instead of watching their Jesus, who turned lines and hierarchy inside out, who washed their feet and insisted those late to work in the vineyard would be given the same pay, they worried about where their seating assignment in the heavenly realms would be.  

The line in front of my church did not stratify those gathered, but instead unified them. After all, people in line with you often want the same things. In that line, the order didn’t seem to matter as much as simply being there.  I often ignore this commonality in lines and stare at my shoes rather than connecting with those around me.

It reminds me of the stories I love about Jesus, the way he ignored the politics of lines and legalism of the pharisees and noticed the woman who grabbed his cloak, the man who asked for healing on the sabbath, and another who was lowered through a rooftop by his friends. He told the children to come unto him and noticed a snively little tax collector who climbed a tree, telling him he’d come over to his house for dinner.

The kingdom of God is like this, a line with no rules, a line that offends the righteous, those who’ve been in line for a while doing the right thing.

  I saw a man leave through the side door of the church. He held the hand of his son in one hand, and in the other, a packet of papers. His wife laughed, holding her pregnant belly. A couple of people clapped for them as they walked past. Sitting in my car, I smiled too, wanting to join the people, to get in line and walk away new or different, not by getting but by waiting together in the middle of it all.


Though at the time I gawked out of curiosity, the image still stays with me, deepening and fermenting to explain something I believe in my gut. It’s the kind of story I want to tell my kids instead of the fable of the grasshopper and the ant or the tale of the little red hen. I want them to see that to live out grace we must at times discard the vocabulary of “deserving” and “bootstrap-pulling” and instead usher the later-comers to the front of the line, sharing in the community of reaching towards the same desire. This. The kingdom of heaven is like this.

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Meredith (Vosburg) Bazzoli is a writer and comedian living in the Chicagoland area. Meredith loves hearing and recording other’s stories, finding glimmers in the mundane,  exploring and collaborating creatively, making good food, and seeking what it means to love and follow Christ in the everyday. She writes about living the revealed life on this blog and performs at the iO and Playground theaters in Chicago. Meredith is married to Drew, a web designer and 6’4″ man with the self-described physique of a tube sock. Connect with her onInstagram and Twitter!

Everyone else is doing it, and that is GOOD news

I am writing 31 fighting scarcity. I will be collecting them all at the starting point. I hope you join me this month. 


This past weekend I went to the Story conference. While I loved the city, (Nashville, let’s hang out okay?) and I loved my company, I was a little bit underwhelmed by the conference (maybe a little bit more than a little bit). The bright spot for me was the opportunity to meet Seth Haines (you can get his tiny letter here) and buy a copy of his book. Apparently it doesn’t come out until October 27th.

In it Seth talks about sobriety, but also he speaks of healing. In fact this is the first place that I have read about healing in a way that honors the mystery of it all. And it felt like water in the desert, like a window opening, like pulling into your driveway. YES! Me too. I get it and I was finally more home on this earth with Seth’s witness right there for me to read. Me too. It was wonderful. It is wonderful. Buy the book.

It has taken me a long way to get here. Just a few months ago it would have crushed me that Seth wrote this thing that is just so true. I mean, I am thinking about a book about healing and if Seth and I think the same thing, and he got there first, then I am going to lose out. His witness to the Good news to the masses is actually bad news for me.

Y’all, scarcity is just such a LIAR. It is just a terrible LIE that because one person said it in their own beautiful way that I can’t say it too. Imagine, imagine if Luke or John had said, welp between Matthew and Mark, the life of Jesus is covered. Imagine if Toni Morrison and Maya Angelou were pitted against each other, told there was only enough room for one of them. Imagine. Just imagine. This is the dumbest thing I have ever almost thought, that just because someone else is saying something I shouldn’t say it either. I was almost a complete moron.

There is absolutely enough room for my voice, especially if it is something God places on my heart, especially if I feel called to say it. The fact that someone else is saying it only proves the point. This thing that God is doing is too important to just have one mouth piece. Everyone should join the chorus. There are an abundance of voices and stories, and mine is one.


Confessions of a YES addict

I am writing 31 fighting scarcity. I will be collecting them all at the starting point. I hope you join Untitled-3

Hello. My name is Abby and I am addicted to saying yes.

I know. It doesn’t sound like a problem. But it is. Some times in my life I have it under control, and other times it absolutely explodes in ways that leave me feeling exhausted and resentful.  I mean, how come SOMEONE ELSE isn’t doing this thing? Oh. Yeah. Because I said “Sure!” No Problem” “I got this!”

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And let me be clear….I really did mean that when I said it. I really did mean yes. I really did have that. In my mind it really was not a problem.

But that was the fifth yes I gave, or that was the first yes but I would go on to give seven more. So by the time I got to the thing I said yes to….I wasn’t as ready as I thought I would be. No problem after no problem can spiral into: this is sort of a bigger deal than I thought it was going to be pretty quickly.

The thing is, it feels good in the moment to say yes.

The thing is, the second I put too much on my plate I can no longer enjoy any of it. I just scarf everything as fast as possible, go through the motions, do the first thing while planning the next and on and on and on. So the things I said YES to, quickly turn into, okay I am here…..but not really.


Scarcity gets us on both sides of this. FIRST: I sometimes say yes because I am believing in scarcity. If I am believing that I am bound to run out of chances, or if the love will run out if I say no, or if somebody needs to do it (FYI: My name and your name are not SOMEBODY. When you hear we need SOMEBODY to… that doesn’t mean it is you.)

Being a yes addict

You have to say no for your yesses to really count.

Being Basic is believing in scarcity

I am writing 31 fighting scarcity. I will be collecting them all at the starting point. I hope you join me this month. Untitled-3

There is this word on the internet. Basic. It describes mostly white girls and my teenage students are terrified of being it. Autumn seems to be the most loved season of the teenage white girl. I love autumn too. I always have. I mean, HELLO BIRTHDAY MONTH! I don’t love being hot, and I don’t love being cold so Autumn suits me well. I love apple picking and pumpkin patching. I love apple cider. I love fresh doughnuts. I love Halloween and I love Thanksgiving ESPECIALLY if I get to cook.

Some of these traits are being described as “basic” a sort of short hand for “All other white girls like that so you are a little bit boring and a little bit a joke for also loving those things?” Other things described as basic: Scarves, love of Starbucks, UGG boots, all other boots, brunch, coordinating Halloween costumes, anything Pumpkin Spice, expressing love for the changing leaves, liking s’more or bonfires, low pony tails. All of these things apparently fall under the category “basic” and should therefore be avoided. I only know because I Googled it. Pretty soon Googling will be basic too.

If scarves are basic, then I guess me and my cozy neck are that.

Y’all! This is ridiculous, first of all if you don’t like brunch or bonfires, or scarves, or s’mores or boots then what is there even to like in this world? I mean WHO DOESN’T LOVE BRUNCH?

But also, it is really hurting my students, and some younger friends of mine. They are afraid that if everyone else likes it, they shouldn’t like it too. But accusing someone of being basic, or fearing it yourself is just another way that scarcity gets to us. To all of us.

Just because you like the same things as someone else does not make you totally unique. My girls show me this most often. They both love pink, and Wild Kratts and dancing and waffles with syrup. They both love each other more than anything and bossing around our dog. They both love apple picking and boots and coordinating halloween costumes. But they are perfectly unique because THEY ARE. They just are.

Scarcity tells us that if someone else has all of our things, it makes us less us. It makes us less special, it makes us more boring. This is just a giant lie. NO ONE CAN TAKE YOUR YOU-NESS FROM YOU! It is literally impossible. Scarcity tells you that your own being is something that needs to be protected and secured.

What a load of crap.

Abundance says it doesn’t matter how many other things you have alike with a person, you are beautifully and wonderfully made and no one, NO ONE can steal your you-ness from you. Being basic isn’t possible, because you are a person.

Some of this stuff I am often reminded about by my friend Nicole who is also doing 31 days. Go see.) 

Perfection and Scarcity: BFF

I am writing 31 fighting scarcity. I will be collecting them all at the starting point. I hope you join me this month. 


I almost quit this whole write 31 days thing yesterday. I started really strong by scheduling 3 of my posts and being aware that I was not going to blog in Nashville with my two awesome internet friends. (Dear 22 year old Abby, surround yourself with strong ladies, find them, meet them, hang out with them as often as you can. They are like growth hormones for your soul.) I had planned on coming home Saturday and cleaning up and then having Sunday to write. But I blew a tire on Saturday and got home for bedtime. Then I spent Sunday doing the “what exactly smells” kind of deep cleaning. Is there anything that makes us clean up a home faster than a funk? Not for me.

So I didn’t have a chance to set this whole shebang up like I wanted. So I am almost through in the towel. There are a million things I haven’t done because I couldn’t do them perfectly. I didn’t want to write until I was really good at it. But I wasn’t. For a long time I was just okay. (Please don’t look through my archives.) I didn’t want to start a manuscript until I had the perfect time for it. I don’t want to go on family vacation until I have the perfect vacation. I don’t want to have people over, I want to throw the perfect dinner party.

Scarcity tells me that if I am not going to do it this one right way (that I actually made up in my head) than I shouldn’t do it at all. There is only one right way to do it, so I may as well give up now because I am doing it wrong.

But abundance invites me to put away the perfection. It says, there are lots of right ways to write, to parent, to have community, to live well. The only thing I signed up for when I signed up to write for 31 days was to post something on my blog for 31 days. And I almost quit before I started because I didn’t have a fancy button (thank you Caris for hooking a friend up.) I thought I had to do this well organized, pinnable, perfectly in order to do it. But I can do it any way and still do it well. Abundance says, you are invited to do the thing, your well AND you are invited to call it good.

It is day five and I am still in this thing. I should have known that the second I decided to fight scarcity, scarcity would call to me. Not this time. You don’t win today.

Abundance and Rag Rugs

I am writing 31 fighting scarcity. I will be collecting them all at the starting point. I hope you join me this month. 


I didn’t think I was the artist today at church. I don’t quite know what happened, but I had enough of an inkling that it still might be my turn to tuck my crochet hook into my purse and bring along a pair of scissors. (I am becoming one of those weird crafters with accidental weapons constantly in her purse.) But I thought I was done because I had run otu of fabric. I had been asking for donations of old t-shirts and stained sheets. I had been working them together to form something new as my pastors spoke about water into wine and healing of the dead. The miracles of the gospel of John. Today was loaves and fishes.

And the artists (mostly me) had about as much fabric as Jesus had food. That is to say, none. We had none. But one of the women brought me a sheet that had been in the donation bin for the community closet. It was a deep grey, like the sky has been for the past two weeks. It provided a perfect frame for the scattered colors in the works of the week before, and much like the passage being preached upon, after we were finished there was enough left over for me to cut strips for my next rug. There was enough, there was an abundance.

Near the end of the sermon, an interpretation of this miracle I had never heard before was mentioned. That while traditionally this passage is seen as a miracle, that Jesus created an abundance from a small offering, others say that the humble offering this boy gave inspired everyone else in the crowd to empty their pockets as well, and the food that appeared was just what was available when everyone shared and shared alike.

Normally I don’t go in for the explanations of coincedence to explain away miracles, but I am somehow attracted to this version. I like the idea that the abundance is available, ready and waiting to be inspired.

At the end of the service someone dropped a bag of fabric next to me, and in the back I found another bag of t-shirts that were intended for me (don’t worry, they are going to good use). I maybe would have seen them earlier but instead I found what I was looking for. Nothing.

When we train our eyes to look for the things we are sure we need, we limit our sight. When everyone is sure there is not enough, the abundance of generosity is impossible. But when we trust in abundance our eyes are open to all the ways we are already being provided for, our eyes are open to all the possibilities and our hearts are open to more giving.

Scarcity says: I will take and keep what is MINE because I need it.

Abundance says: This is enough, I have enough to share.

All the Feels. You can have them.

am writing 31 fighting scarcity. I will be collecting them all at the starting point. I hope you join me this month. 


Almost all of my negative emotions initially come out as anger. I loose something precious to me? I yell before I cry. I am at a loss at what to do about a relationship I care deeply about? I start using the f-word in all kinds of situations that have nothing to do with that relationship. I am lonely? I get generally irritated at my student’s (and my children’s) inability to listen to my directions. I am scared? I get mad about the traffic.

I know how to navigate anger. Anger feels safer to me than grief, hopelessness, loneliness, fear. I know what to do about anger. I know how to yell and be sarcastic. Anger I can handle.

I fear other emotions because I am afraid they will over take me. I am afraid that grief or loss or loniness, that I will get stuck feeling those somehow. That I won’t ever feel anything else again. So instead, I get angry. It feels safer.

Somehow, scarcity has told me that I am only allowed to feel so many things, that I am only allowed to feel so many things about a particular thing. If I am sad it is over I can’t be grateful it happened. If I am overwhelmed by the opportunity I can’t be happy about it. If I am jealous of someone’s opportunity I can’t be thrilled for them.

Y’all. That right there is a LIE from the PIT. THERE IS NOT SUCH THING AS A SCARCITY OF FEELINGS!

Abundance says FEEL ALL THE FEELS! You are allowed to feel all of the feelings. Feelings are complicated and if you are feeling jealous that doesn’t mean you aren’t allowed to feel anything else. Deep sorrow does not negate deep joy. In fact, I am pretty sure it invites it. You are absolutely one hundred percent allowed to feel whatever it is you are feeling, and when you get to the end of it you are allowed to feel whatever is next.

Scarcity of feelings isn’t real. There are so many feelings, and this life is so mixed up and complicated. Feel whatever it is you need to feel. That is the only way to abundance.