Tag Archives: friendship

cheers to the risk

Cheers to the Risk

“Perfect and bulletproof are seductive, but they don’t exist in the human experience.”-Brené Brown

This past weekend I had the privilege of retreating with some ladies from my church. The whole premise of the retreat was to sit around a table, eat delicious foods, and tell stories of where we’ve been, where we are, and where we hope to go with Jesus. It was – hands down – my favorite women’s retreat I’ve ever been on.

I’ve been thinking quite a bit over the last few days about spiritual community – thoughts unfortunately spurned on by the great lack that most people seem to have. It seems as if so many of us that follow Jesus are trying to do it alone. Or, at bare minimum, we invite others into our lives to follow Him with one another, but it’s as if we’re walking on opposite sides of the road, unwilling to close the gap and truly journey together. There’s great risk in sharing our lives with people around us, and we’re too scared to take that step. So, instead, we do all the right things – Bible study, small group, women’s events, church clean-up days, dinner with a group of people once a month – we insert ourselves into all the right ‘communities’ thinking that at some point, magic will happen and we’ll be seen and known the way we desire. But here’s the catch – we won’t. We can show up and do all the right things and never get to the point where people know us – really know us.

We’re afraid of the vulnerability and risk it will take to really open our hearts up to others, trusting that the Lord has placed people in our lives to be God-with-flesh-on for us, to fill the intimate space of companionship that we all so desperately crave.

“We love seeing raw truth and openness in other people, but we’re afraid to let them see it in us. We’re afraid that our truth isn’t enough – that what we have to offer isn’t enough without the bells and whistles, without editing, and impressing.”-Brené Brown

For me, the space never even came CLOSE to being filled until I came to the end of my do-ing, and let myself just be.

Be seen.
Be known.
Be open.
Be vulnerable.
Be ready for grace.
Be ready for God to show up.

Be present with Jesus and not expect anything but Him.

And then, be present with people – offering our story of where we’ve been with Jesus, where we are with Jesus, and where we hope to go with Jesus.
Opening up our lives, risking the potential rejection, hurt, and isolation that may come with the weight our stories carry.
But the other thing we risk – the beautiful thing that we risk – is actually having someone receive our story.

Because once someone receives it, they are in it with you. They are now a part of your story. And you can’t walk away from that the same person.

It. Will. Change. You.

I think we all wait around for that type of pivotal plot point, eager to step into that sacred space. But few of us are willing to open up our souls, standing naked and unashamed before one another (metaphorically naked, that is. Keep your clothes on if we’re hanging out…)

I guess that’s my point. Take the risk. Raise your glass to the unknown, to that which should scare the pants off of you (but again…keep your pants on). You’re life will be filled to the brim if you do.

“The willingness to show up changes us. It makes us a little braver each time.”-Brené Brown

 

(sorry, not sorry for all the Brené Brown quotes. now, go read all her books and have your heart ripped out a little bit – in the best ways.)

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holy ground

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There’s something holy and sacred about being asked to hold part of someone else’s story. Whether it is being asked to pray for a certain situation or relationship, or having someone share wonderful, life changing news, there is so much beauty in being invited in to another’s life.

Having experienced this invitation, I feel terribly inadequate in carrying the title of “friend” in other’s lives. To be honored in such a way that a person trusts me with their story – man…I just don’t know that I have the words.

I can’t just ignore it – I’m standing on holy ground. I’ve been invited into sacred space with another image bearer of the Most High God.

It’s really easy for me to sit in a day like today – Valentine’s Day – when my social media feed is flooded with posts of husbands and wives doting over one another and girls posting all about how their boyfriend is the best boyfriend in the whole-wide-world*, and feel oh so sorry for myself. To look at what they have and get really lonely, dwelling on what I don’t. Longing for someone to share a BOGO at Qdoba with, just because we kissed each other.

It’s easy to forget what I do have – to let the singular voice of ‘not-yet-married’ drown out the many voices of ‘you-are-so-loved.’

What I do have is this: people that invite me into their lives in ways that I don’t even have language to express. People that weep with me. People that rejoice with me. People that allow me rejoice with them; not only allow me, but ask me to! Man! What a freaking honor!!

It’s like they are eating their most favorite dish in the entire world and, without hesitation, they slide their plate over to me with the last bite on the fork and say, “Here, I want you to have this. I want you to share in the joy that is mine.”

I think too often we blow past the sacred space others invite us in to because we are afraid of what it calls us to. We are afraid that we’ll have to do something with it. And, guess what, we will. We’ll be called to open up our own lives, which risks hurt and heartache.

It’s much easier to keep people at a distance, never admitting our need for one another. But it’s also much less beautiful.

I would rather walk away from a conversation, my heart bursting with joy and love and, well, holiness I think, than never know the depth of connection I can have with another person.

The risk is worth it.
The friends are worth it.
The sacred connection we get to experience is worth it.
Every. Time.

So, on this Valentine’s Day, I’m not going to be sad or bummed or lonely because I’m single.
Instead, I’m going to be ever so grateful for the ways in which God fills the sacred space in my heart – with Himself and with those that allow me to call them friend.

*can we talk about this for a second? Not everyone can have the best boyfriend in the entire world. They don’t all tie for first place. Some of them are kinda crappy.

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we just need each other

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Sometimes life is tough. I’ve experienced (what I think are) a lot of tough times thus far in my short life (no comments on my height, please).

However, life has been a lot less tough in the past few years, mainly because I know what community looks like. I know what life with people should be like. I’m learning what it means to bear with one another, to live life with others that actually means something.

I think all too often we are afraid of being real with one another. We hold back our struggles, sins, insecurities, and doubts. We may even hold back our joys, wins, and celebrations of things going well in our lives.

We are afraid of being known, yet that’s all we really desire. We are made to be in community with one another.

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2)

Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. (Romans 12:15)

“I don’t like going this long without being with you guys in the same room. I feel like the devil knows we’ve been apart, and he chooses those periods of time to just give us all the junk he can throw at us.”

I got this text message last night from one of my dearest. I’d been having a rough week – and by week, I mean multiple weeks, maybe months – and, after a long conversation about life, she sent this. It’s so right.

We need each other. And I’m not just saying I need my friends and they need me.

I’m saying you need your friends. They need you.

We need to create a safe place for one another to just be – the be able to weep, to rejoice, to celebrate, to hold one another up.

May we all be willing to admit that we need one another – that life is better with people.

Let’s keep showing up.

*if you want to giggle a little & feel some feels, click here to watch Kristen’s last go-round as a SNL cast member!

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to showing up

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I’m a huge Sophia Bush fan. I fell in love with her as Brooke Davis on One Tree Hill, I deeply admire her desire to change the world and people’s lives through her ‘activist’ efforts (she’s involved with Pencils of Promise, I Am That Girl, etc.), and I love her voice. Seriously. I’d just like to have her read a book on tape for me to listen to all the time.

I also follow her on instagram. Truthfully, I follow her on every platform of social media the two of us share. Follow may not be the word. If there were a word for “I wonder what Sophia’s doing today, I’m going to go check all the things,” then that would be the right word.

Recently she’s been posting pictures on Instagram with the hashtag #toshowingup. It’s typically in correlation with something she’s done with her close friends, or an adventure she’s been on recently. And it got me thinking.

Do I show up?
Am I present with people?
Am I available when it’s inconvenient to me?
Do I live life in such a way that makes it worth showing up to?

And as a Christian, what does this mean? Does showing up in Gospel rhythm matter in people’s lives?

I think it means that we rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep, bear one another’s burdens, call out sin in people’s lives, allow people to call out sin in our lives, go on big adventures to see God in the unknown places of the world and in our hearts. I think it means just that – we show up. We show up with one another, we show up with ourselves, and most importantly, we show up with God.

We go to God and say, “Here I am, Lord. Forgive me, change me, send me, use me.”

We open our selves up and say, “Today is not about me. Today is about loving God and loving others. Love Him and let Him love you, now go and do likewise.”

We be with others and say, “I’m with you, you aren’t alone, now let’s go have an adventure.”

We show up.

So here’s to that. Here’s to newness, and livelihood, and joy. To showing up.

*Sophia hasn’t been on SNL that I know of, so this hilarious throwback of Tina & Amy as the Bush twins (not related to Sophia) will have to suffice. ALSO, my ladies are hosting the Globes this Sunday so it’s appropriate. And ALSO again, Chicago P.D. makes it’s winter premier tonight so it’s timely that I write about Sophia 🙂 Okay. That’s all for now. I think.

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a thing or two I can learn from Job’s friends

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I recently read through the book of Job and got smacked around a little bit. I’ve known the story of Job for a while, but I can’t remember a time where I read the whole story, start to finish.

You see, Job went through SOME STUFF. He lost his livestock (better known as his way to make some scrilla), he lost his servants (which was a big deal in that day), and he lost all of his children. He knew about loss better than I know about Saturday Night Live. Which is a lot.

So Job starts to wrestle with this and he has three guys speak into his life regarding why all of this calamity has fallen on him. The first one told him that the innocent prosper, so basically Job wasn’t innocent in some area of his life. The second tells Job he should repent. And the third, oh the third, tells Job that he deserves worse. If you’re interested in the rest of the story (Paul Harvey style), then go read it.

Here’s what I learned from Job’s friends: don’t be a big jerk face!!

Too many times in my life I’ve had a friend come to me, struggling with something hard in their life, and I’ve been the person that looks condescendingly upon said person and popped something off like, “Well, have you prayed about it?”, “I mean, maybe you have unconfessed sin in your life…”, or, at my worst, “You know, when you think about it, we actually have it really good. You should be grateful this is all you’re going through.”

Seriously, Smith?!

On the flip side, I’ve also been the one that’s had similar things said to her. One of my least favorite, yet most popular Job-friend-esque responses to me struggling through seasons of being bummed about singleness is: “There’s probably some personal stuff you need to work out with the Lord before you’re ready for marriage.” (or some version of that)

While I (sometimes) appreciate the sentiment, I don’t understand why we can’t just listen to each other and say, “I’m so sorry this is hard for you. I’m here for you. You’re not going through this alone.”

And I don’t understand why I have to be so pretentious and act like I have it all together.

So I guess what I’m saying is, let’s be better listeners with each other. Let’s do a better job of living life with one another. Let’s stop acting like we have all the answers whenever crappy things happen in life. Let’s give advise that is based in love and wisdom, not just a bunch of head knowledge that tears others down.

And if you’re sharing some hard stuff with me and I start to act like a hoity toity brat, pop me in the forehead and bring me back to life. Cause I want to be a good friend. I don’t want to be a jerk face.

(ps, click here for the full Garth & Kat skit!)

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