“We need the sweet and salty of life. We need things that are hard, hurtful, painful and difficult to directly highlight the things that are beautiful, redeemed, restored and loving. I am really fascinated with this concept of holding space for the tension of the really redeemed and the really broken.”–Lexie
When you were younger, what did you think your life would look like as an adult?
To answer this question as honestly as I can, I would have to admit that I was never one to plan any aspect of my life. I am known to be a dreamer and even more so when I was young bean sprout.
I had a lot of interests, ideas, and aspirations of different things that would bring joy and purpose to my life. I can very distinctly remember being in high school and having that moment of realization that I could choose to go away to college and study whatever intrigued me.
When I was in high school, I wanted to become a zoologist. I was fascinated and in love with animals. I took an animal health ROP course through a local program my junior year and realized that I loathed anything having to do with math or science, not because I didn’t believe in it, but mainly because the theories and concepts did not stick in my brain. (That is sort of comical since in elementary school I was coined as “GIFTED” in math through the G.A.T.E programs.)
I ultimately came to see that I just knew I had a passion for people and the outdoors, so I decided that a program in pastoral leadership sounded like a good fit for me. (That was after I discovered that was even a thing that I could do – a good reminder that we need to show our kids ALL of the possibilities, not just traditional careers!)
When I moved away to college, my inner dreamer came into the fullness of itself and I decided that I wanted to be someone who traveled and was super involved in fighting injustices like Modern Day slavery and domestic violence issues and meeting people in the darkest and lonely places and providing light and grace to them.
I had big aspirations but no real path to get there. I really didn’t think through these things deeper, because I felt like there were just so many possibilities out there that intrigued me. However, with all of that being said, I think once I fell in love and made the decision to get married, a lot of those things started to fall into place and take shape for me.
I am by no means saying your life won’t begin until you fall in love and get married … that is just sort of how it worked for me, largely because I got married right out of college. Since Nolan and I got married so young, we built a lot of our life together from the ground up. We’ve made decisions together about jobs, where we would live, if we would be close to our families, what communities we would invest in, etc.
What does your life look like now?
I think the theme of life should just be TRANSITIONS. It is truly the one thing we will never be able to avoid as human beings.
Transitions are inevitable if you are a living, breathing human being, and for Nolan and I we are absolutely no exception. For the past 10 months my husband and I have been living at my in-laws’ house working our way towards finding where we feel would be the best place for us to plant ourselves.
God made a way for us to land in Littleton, Colorado. I have been gifted with the opportunity to be a Leadership Development Apprentice at a local Anglican Church in Englewood, CO, which is our neighboring city.
I run my own business called Deep Well Enneagram Coaching. I provide 1:1, marriage, and leadership development coaching all through the lens and perspective of the development tool called the Enneagram.
I am a part of International Justice Mission’s Colorado Front Range Volunteer Team. This means that I am apart of helping educate and provide awareness to the state of Colorado on all of the efforts and work that IJM does globally to combat modern day slavery.
I am married to the most incredible husband who runs his own business providing various different opportunities and services to individuals who are autistic, as well as coaching for the families and parents to be able to have further support.
We have a crazy two-year-old German Shepherd named Kodiak who occupies much of our time and energy. When we are not wearing these various different hats, we find ourselves outside as often as possible – either hiking, camping, or rock climbing. We spend much of our time with family and community. We have three nieces and one nephew; and if we could, we would spend every minute with them.
Our life is not simple, yet I don’t think there is much I would change.
What have you changed your mind about?
When I was younger, I was one of those who had a philosophy of life that “everything happens for a reason.” I no longer believe this is true. I believe that things happen and the Lord enters in and redeems, heals, and brings forgiveness and reconciliation. When we say that everything happens for a reason, without thinking what the deeper implications of this might mean … we end up silently saying that we believe God causes pain and suffering.
I believe that He allows it but doesn’t orchestrate it. I believe that we are given so many opportunities to grow and choose redemption, reconciliation, healing, and beauty.
What were the pivotal moments and decisions that led you to where you are today?
Well, probably the biggest one was the decision to get married. When I met my husband and started to date him in college, it shifted a lot for me. I never really pictured what it would be like to be married young, but when I met and fell in love with him, all I wanted to do was build a life with him.
Deciding to build your life with another human drastically changes things. I don’t believe getting married takes away from your dreams and desires. I think if you marry the right person, it opens the door to possibilities that you didn’t know you wanted or would be possible. That’s my story.
Ten months after we got married we decided to take an opportunity for my husband’s job and move across the country. We moved to Georgia with the intent of it being temporary and only staying for three months.
Once we were out there, his job led us to another opportunity that kept us in Georgia for an additional year and a half. When we decided to leave Georgia and the life that we were starting to build out there, it was in huge part to the fact that we desired deeply to be an aunt and uncle that were extremely present to our nieces and nephews lives.
We believe that family is crucial to the development of children and we had a responsibility to them. Another factor for us moving to Colorado was the fact that my mother in law had been diagnosed with cancer shortly after we were married.
That diagnosis shifted a lot for us and the way we made decisions after that. We have always been people who value taking risks. We have taken quite a few risks in our life. Some have worked out really well, some have failed miserably, and some we are still waiting to see the fruit of.
We very much believe that life is a series of discerning risks. For us, if we didn’t take the job in Georgia, we wouldn’t have found the type of community and meaningful work that my husband is now doing as his own business. We wouldn’t have found a church community that healed parts of our hearts that were very wounded and calloused in that season. We wouldn’t have found the connections and opportunities that we are currently exploring. I am honestly blown away at the way that some risks reap tremendous rewards, while others leave you with more questions, doubts, and frustration.
What are you learning right now?
I have been leaning into this concept of what it means to genuinely expect good, kind, and holy things from the Lord.
I think so much of us live a life that is just waiting for the next shoe to drop, waiting for the next challenge or trial that we need to endure. I guess I have experienced so many pains and trials in my life that I have started to shift my understanding and perspective a bit.
I don’t look at these “hard” and “challenging” things as terrible storms or seasons, but I have really started to embrace them as just life. Life is just messy, dark, broken, and sometimes ugly.
However, I am learning that by wrestling with this concept of, if God really is a GOOD Father, a kind and merciful God … then the real gift from Him is being able to experience these painful things of life as beautiful, holy, precious and good.
We need the sweet and salty of life. We need things that are hard, hurtful, painful and difficult to directly highlight the things that are beautiful, redeemed, restored and loving. I am really fascinated with this concept of holding space for the tension of the really redeemed and the really broken.
What do you love about your life in this moment?
In this moment, I love that I am seeing parts of my story and parts of my heart being redeemed. I love that I am experiencing closeness and intimacy in relationships that bring life and restore. I love that Nolan and I are figuring out how to fight for and find spaces and pockets in our day-to-day to find joy and purpose and satisfaction.
What brings you joy/fills your soul?
The older I get, the more I am realizing how much alone time in a sacred beautiful space fills me up. Add a good quality cup of coffee and I am sold!
I regularly need time in the outdoors to feel connected to myself and the Creator.
The other part of this is to also have community. I have really learned in the past three years that we can’t walk through life alone. We weren’t designed for it. We were designed for connection. Designed to grow alongside of and with other humans.
If a kid walked up to you asking for your advice and you only had a few minutes to give them your best tip, what would it be?
Embrace the mess, celebrate good things, always seek out the beauty, go deeper, keep learning.
What do you wish everyone knew about the Enneagram, being married, and living for Jesus?
Most of my job as an Enneagram Coach is correcting a lot of the false teaching and understanding of the how the Enneagram should be used. We are in a very interesting time with the Enneagram.
Our culture, like it does with most good things, has taken the Enneagram and misunderstood the power and intent of the tool. Many people don’t understand that the Enneagram was not created for you simply JUST to understand yourself further and have an explanation as to why you behave in a certain way.
Its intent is to be a self-discovery tool that allows you to further identify areas of both health and unhealth and continue to grow and become “unstuck” in destructive behaviors that not only hurt yourself but also hurt other people you are in relationship with.
It is very destructive to look at the world solely based upon type. We need to recognize that we are so much more than type. We are sons and daughters. We are individuals with souls that are defined as husbands and wives, sisters and brothers. We need to remember that our type is not identity; it is a lens through which we approach the world.
If you let it be, marriage is the most sanctifying process. God uses marriages to truly meet us where we are and invite us back into wholeness and healing with Him.
When you are married, it is such a beautiful picture of the power of the Trinity, three as one. We don’t function the way we were designed to when God isn’t a part of the conversation.
Getting married and having a bigger purpose for your marriage other than each other is crucial to the health of the marriage. Marriage needs meaning and purposes outside of just the marriage. I fully believe that marriage was designed for us to more deeply grow and reflect the Father’s heart.
If you are not married and have married friends, I desperately urge you to cultivate deep meaningful friendships with them. They need you just as much as they need one another and other married couples. BUT, they need you single folks as well.
When we got married, we were very surprised at the amount of single friends who placed assumptions on us now – they thought we didn’t have the capacity for them since we were married. This is such a lie and I am here claiming that we need each other. We need to learn from one another and cultivate spaces for one another.
Living for Jesus:
I am learning more and more that we were never meant to do life alone, especially the Christian life. We are created for one another in community. To share in meals, conversations, generosity, places of darkness, loneliness, and tremendous joy.
I am learning how essential living with and for Jesus is all based in community and relationship. Faith doesn’t work without the family of faith. It is crucial for our growth and maturity in Christ. I think we have to do better at cultivating authentic and real spaces of community and connection. We need one another desperately to remind one another of truth and grace.
How can readers connect with you?
Connect on FB – Lexie Shaffer OR @Deepwellcoaching
Email me @ email@example.com