Alyssa Sellers


Single in the Summer is the Worst

single in the summer squareBeing single in the summer is the worst.

Sure, the Christmas/New Year combo could vie for the title of Worst Season to be Single. What with the constant barrage of songs telling you that Christmas just ain’t Christmas without the one you love and all the parties you have to attend solo with the faces of other happy families reminding you that you are a family of one.

Stealthy summer wins because of its tricky sneak-attack of sadness.

At first, the physical freedom from outerwear mixed with extended hours of daylight provides a certain kind of euphoria. Soon, however, you discover you have a tad too much time.

In the dead of winter, it’s dark all the time and you have no place you need to go so you feel no guilt staying in on a Saturday night watching an entire season of some show on Netflix. But in the summer, the sunny outside world beckons with promises of road trips, camping adventures, ball games of all sorts, hikes to majestic views, naps in lush meadows, seaside rambles, and so forth, you know what I’m talking about, you feel me. Continue reading


Knowing I Don’t Have to Know

Joy Ride New OrleansThere I was, ugly crying on the cypress wood floor in my uncle’s home in New Orleans. It was the summer of 2002 and, after watching a seemingly innocuous movie, I was an emotional wreck.

Not just because in “Life as a House” an adorable young Anakin Skywalker stood in the pouring rain and fervently cried out for Alyssa, the witty and wise girl-next-door, who happened to share my name as well as some of my pretty fabulous character traits. (Yes, yes, I know. Hayden Christensen was acting in the role of an entirely different character named Sam, but to me he was still the promising young padawan – you know, before he goes all dark side of the force – only NOW with bonus blue hair. Swoon.) No, I was sobbing because Anakin/Sam and the other characters in the film were ultimately searching for redemption, love, and an understanding one’s self, all the things I had journeyed to New Orleans to find.

And because I was failing miserably in my search.

My movie postmortem didn’t start with me lying in a puddle of tears on the floor. It started with me sitting upright on the step at the top of a staircase, looking out through a giant window at a warm summer sunset, and holding a pen and yellow paper tablet in my hands prepared to write a veritable masterpiece of emotion inspired by the movie I had just experienced.

As you may have surmised, that didn’t happen. Continue reading


Thanks For Being Lost

Sorry I haven’t written in a while, I’ve been lost.

When I started delivering mail for the USPS I spent a few weeks in a super hilly, sorta windy road, neighborhood. I was lost a lot. On the first day, in the middle of a neighborhood, around one in the afternoon, I stopped and yelled, “JESUS! I DON’T LIKE THIS!” And then, after a bit, “Help me. Please.”

I don’t like not knowing where I am. I don’t like not knowing where I’m going. I don’t like feeling like I’m not in control/charge of my life. Continue reading

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Following a Big Crazy God

63f17-bigcrazyriverThe Bible is full of some straight-up crazy situations. Take Joshua for instance. After he leads all of the Israelites across a miraculously dry river bottom, God tells him to circumcise all of his men.

I wonder if Joshua thought the circumcision would have been a better idea back in the desert when they had nothing better to do and natural boundaries for protection. Or if he thought maybe a better plan would have been slicing in shifts, thus guaranteeing at least a few able bodied fighters in case of attack. But no, after waiting and wandering around the desert for 40 years because of other people’s poor choices, God tells Joshua to cross over into hostile land and then render his army useless for a few days.

That’s big crazy. Continue reading

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I’m Scared of the Nothing

I use to get crazy anxiety when I came to the end of a plan. Mostly because I didn’t know what was going to happen next. I like plans. I used to be kind of obsessed with them, actually. Emotionally, I don’t do super well with the nothing. I feel like I’m shouting along with the Empress in The NeverEnding Story when she is about to get swallowed up by the nothing, “Say my name, Sebastian! SAY MY NAME!”

I’m scared of the nothing.

It’s kinda like when a new born baby endures her first bath. That baby has no idea what she’s getting into and, frankly, it’s scary. I mean she’s just recently gone through some fairly traumatic stuff so understandably she kicks and screams and cries. This is the unknown, this is the nothing. Soon she learns that she will survive this ordeal. Going forward, each bath time gets a little less scary. Sometimes when the air is cold and she has to get marker scrubbed off her arm she cries a bit more than usual, she may not know why this has to happen, but she knows she will survive.

She believes she will survive because she is becoming dependent. She is learning to trust.

I went to the Faith & Culture Writers Conference a month ago and heard William Paul Young, the author of The Shack speak. A good deal of what he said resonated with me, but in particular he said that God is healing us so we can be children.

Healthy, safe, and well cared for children aren’t obsessed with plans. They are unaware of the nothing.

When I live my life in fear of the nothing, I make some really desperate choices that are not for the best. So, I am choosing to live my life as a child of God, as a child of love, not of fear.  I am learning to trust. I am becoming dependent. I will survive.

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Waiting isn’t for the Weak

Pink Tree of Portland

Today is the 30th Birthday of one of my favorites. She is handling it way better than I did.  Today, she posted on Facebook: “I’ve been looking forward to 30 since 25 so I’m über-excited about this particular birthday.”

I, on the other hand, went a little, “Oh-my-pants-I’m-turning-30-and-I’ve-failed-at-life,” kind of crazy. I went for a walk on the waterfront along the Willamette River and admitted to God that I felt like I had failed because I didn’t have an awesome career or a fabulous marriage/family. In fact, I was nowhere close to either of those realities and I was a week away from 30 – unemployed and severely single.

God gently replied, just on the north side of the Morrison Bridge, near the pink tree where I often hear God’s responses;
 “You’re wrong. Failing, for you, would be already having those things. You are waiting for a reason. For something better. For me.” Continue reading

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Heavy Burdened

Katmandu, Nepal ~ June 2011

I had this one day, four months ago, that was completely refreshing to my soul. I think it was because I didn’t move out of duty or obligation or what I thought was right or expected of me. I moved out of he unforced rhythms of God’s grace. I moved out of the core of who I am.

This day reminded me of the lesson I learned over a year ago in Nepal – don’t think, just do. I think too much. Perhaps my planning and calculation is worry disguised in pretty dress.  This seems to be the lesson I refuse to learn, and yet, God continues to present it to me.

Coming back onto campus back in January I didn’t really have a plan. I felt like Joshua in Jericho except I was walking around the South Park Blocks in prayer and waiting for the Lord. If there is one word I’ve gotten from God over the last two terms it is, “wait.”

“Pray and wait for me, Alyssa. Move where I move you. Let go and be free to be. Move with my current; it is safe and gentle for you. Watch and see what happens when you move freely in me.” This doesn’t look like other ministries I’ve seen. But that is OK, it’s more than OK, it’s God and God is good.

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on Religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” ~Jesus in Matthew 11:28-30 The Message

Jesus didn’t have a strict business model. He moved where he was led by God and did what needed to be done at the time. As Enoch did many years before, Jesus walked with God.

The Voice version records this passage this way:
“Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Put My yoke upon your shoulders – it might appear heavy at first, but it is perfectly fitted to your curves. Learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble of heart. When you are yoked to Me, your weary souls will find rest. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.”

“…perfectly fitted to your curves.” How much do I LOVE this?!

I’m nothing but curves and it is incredible to think this task I’ve been given by Jesus is perfectly fitted for me.

Now if only my bras were.

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What You Waiting For

Ideas can start out so noble and pure. After a while they can be twisted and manipulated into selfish, lustful things.

I wonder how couples succeed in focusing on God first and not their family. I think at the core my idea is to be in a loving relationship with someone similar to me who loves Jesus and wants to work together to see God’s will done. That is noble.

Meanwhile my mind runs wild with selfish desire – which is not. I’m in a period of pruning and weeding that stuff out. It’s sorta painful. Like a good sore after a good work out. Well that’s what it feels like now. Not too long ago it sucked and I pouted like a three-year-old who had her pillow pal taken away.

Oswald Chambers wrote, “If our hopes are being disappointed just now, it means that they are being purified. There is nothing noble that the human mind has ever hoped for or dreamed of that will not be fulfilled. One of the greatest strains in life is the strain of waiting for God.”