If you only knew what I really believe about faith…
Would you still worship with me?
If you only knew how I voted in the last election…
Would you still respect me?
If you only knew what’s happening in my home right now…
Would you still confide in me?
If you only knew what’s happened in my past…
Would you still value me?
If you only knew the number on my scale…
Would you still have grace for me?
If you only knew my opinions about the issues facing our world…
Would you still like me?
If you only knew how I spent my money…
Would you still be my friend?
If you only knew what goes on in my mind…
Would you still trust me?
I keep secrets.
I stay in my cage.
I show you a false version of me.
I protect my self at all costs.
ALL BECAUSE I WANT TO
belong to you.
be accepted by you.
be LOVED by you.
Jesus tenderly brings me out of hiding.
I have no secrets with Him.
He sets me free.
He allows the truest version of me.
He protects my REAL self at all costs.
I AM SO GRATEFUL THAT I
belong to Him
am accepted by Him
am LOVED by Him
I want to be Jesus with skin on FOR you.
I want the same FROM you.
Together, maybe we can show this Jesus to everyone else.
Oh may it be so.
There is a battle that rages inside of me.
It’s in every decision.
It’s in every moment.
It’s in every relationship.
It’s the never-ending clash of freedom and safety.
Will I fall if my dad takes off my training wheels?
Should I try out for the part in the school play?
What will happen if I ask that boy to the dance?
What should I major in?
Should I send that follow-up email to my coworker about the missing information?
What will my friends think if I take a break from traditional church?
Should I let my kids ride their bike to the neighbor’s house?
Can I tell my spouse about my overwhelming fear?
Should I quit my good-paying job and follow my life-long dream?
Is it too late for me to _____________?
SO MANY QUESTIONS.
All followed up by the three more questions.
Will this keep me safe?
Will this make me free?
Which is more important?
Much of the time, I choose safety at all costs.
What does it really do for me? What does freedom do?
Here are my humble findings so far.
SAFETY swallows me up.
It says, “Do what’s easiest, no matter the cost.”
It keeps the real me at bay, playing “nicey-nice,” telling me over and over again that “I’m fine” is the answer every morning, no matter if it’s remotely true or horribly false.
FREEDOM releases me.
It says, “The choice is yours to make.”
It calls the authentic me to come out to play, reminding me that any answer I give in the morning is good as long as it’s true.
SAFETY keeps me small.
It says, “You just shouldn’t.”
It prevents me from feeling it ALL, tells me I am only allowed to feel SOME and I need to do whatever it takes to get the HAPPY and stuff down the HARD.
FREEDOM enlarges me.
It says, “You can.”
It allows me feel ALL of it, from the angry to the anxious, from the sappy to the happy, from the painful to the pleasant. ALL. OF. IT. Nothing is too much or too hard or too this or too that.
SAFETY says protection is my end goal.
It says, “Don’t let anything bad happen E.V.E.R.”
It stomps out the beautiful possibilities of wonder and ensuing joy and leaves me lifeless and hopeless.
FREEDOM says I am designed for fullness.
It says, “Your adventure is waiting. Dive right on in.”
It opens me to grandeur, summons me to imagination, bids me to beauty and leaves me wholly alive and able to dream.
SAFETY shuts others out.
It says, “You will be hurt and it will be terrible, 99.9% guaranteed.”
It perpetuates disengagement and sometimes shouts a loud or whispers a soft “NO!” to any kind of closeness. It leaves me lonely and loveless.
FREEDOM invites others in.
It says, “You will be hurt, but it will be worth every teardrop, 99.9% guaranteed.”
It welcomes vulnerability, openness, intimacy, and gives room for my most basic human need to be fully-known and fully-loved. I feel my own long sigh exhaling, “Aaahhh! YES!”
SAFETY downright enslaves me.
It says “Don’t you dare.”
It dictates decisions that lead to an endless and fruitless attempt to control my world, my husband, my kids, my friends, my self.
FREEDOM grants me permission to really LIVE.
It says, “I triple-dog dare you!”
It urges me to ask myself the scary question: what is the truest, most beautiful life that you can imagine?* It doesn’t stop there. It implores me to then actually answer and act on that question.
There is a battle that rages inside of me.
It’s in every decision.
It’s in every moment.
It’s in every relationship.
Which might win today? Tomorrow? Next week?
I don’t know for sure.
But which will ultimately win in the end?
I know. I know. I really know.
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free!” Galatians 5:1
*asked by Glennon Doyle in the book Unashamed.
Even something as complicated as parenting choices or as simple as the choice of who to root for on the field.
And now COVID.
“I’m in this camp.”
Social media comment fights.
“I believe I’m right and you are wrong.”
“I want freedom at all costs!”
“I want safety at all costs!”
What’s at the root of it all?
WE ARE ALL AFRAID OF SOMETHING.
Not having enough _________ .
Being left out.
Not being liked.
The list goes on and on.
To be honest, I’m afraid of it ALL.
BUT I don’t want to live and act from that place of FEAR.
I don’t want it to be the boss of me.
I hope to live and act from a much better place: LOVE.
LOVE begets GRACE.
GRACE generates KINDNESS.
KINDNESS breeds BELONGING.
BELONGING creates SAFETY.
SAFETY produces PEACE.
PEACE conquers FEAR.
“There is no fear in love. Perfect love drives out fear.”
(I John 1:18)
When you took your child home for the first time, I bet you felt like I did: nervous, excited, already exhausted, wondering if you would be all the things that were expected of you and that you hoped for.
It didn’t matter whether your child was chosen by you through adoption or born out of your body. Whether you went home with your first born as a single mom or with your sixth child as a married, older mom, this was a big undertaking, one filled with anticipation and trepidation (and maybe a little freak out).
This whole mom thing has been “quite the ride,” filled with quarrels and hugs, tears and laughter, heartache and hope. It feels a bit like you have been in some kind of battle together, sometimes fighting against each other (I know that all too well), but really fighting FOR something bigger than either of you: your child’s heart.
When he has bummer days, you fight FOR him not to become bitter. When she in on top of her game, you fight FOR her to become grateful. It’s an every-day kind of fighting and it doesn’t matter if your child is 2 or 52. P.S. You’re doing great!!!
I’ve got some BIG NEWS: You are NOT the only one fighting FOR your child, even in those moments that tell you the opposite. You are not in this battle alone, even for a minute.
God goes in front of your child, swatting down all the “spiderwebs” and low-hanging tree branches.
God hangs in the trenches with your child, especially for all the minutes that you are not able to be there.
God brings up the rear too, so that your child feels all kinds of safe inside.
God fights fiercely FOR his or her heart. YUP He does!! And He never stops!!
Believing this is one of the only things that holds this fraidy cat mama heart together many days.
Now I’ve even got some BIGGER NEWS: In the midst of the mayhem, God hasn’t forgotten about you. He also battles FOR your beautiful, precious, mama heart, your confused, grateful, anxious, sad, hopeful, kind, trusting, vulnerable heart.
He doesn’t just want your child to thrive. He wants the same FOR you.
He doesn’t just want your child to be free, He wants the same FOR you.
He doesn’t just want your child’s life to be full, He wants the same FOR you.
You are His beloved child after all.
I pray that today, your mama’s heart will both calm and bask in this truth and at the same time, be excited for all the victory that’s ahead on this crazy, never-ending motherhood adventure.
From my heart to yours.
I do not take this day lightly.
My heart swells with thanksgiving that I live in a place where my innate need and hunger for freedom is met.
This framework of outer freedom bestows a space where my many-times trembling, but just-enough-times brave heart fights for my inner freedom, a sacredness no one, no thing can touch.
I have the freedom to be kind.
I have the freedom to enjoy beauty.
I have the freedom to learn, grow and change.
I have the freedom to be generous.
I have the freedom to be trustworthy.
I have the freedom to love my neighbor, period.
I have the freedom to take risks.
I have the freedom to be gentle.
I have the freedom to walk with integrity.
I have the freedom to be filled with respect for all.
I have the freedom to show compassion.
I have the freedom to journey with humility.
I have the freedom to forgive.
I have the freedom to shine my light.
I have the freedom to be patient.
I have the freedom to be authentic and vulnerable.
I have the freedom to don the mantle of courage.
I have the freedom to open my heart to an abiding faith.
I have the freedom to work with all my might.
I have the freedom to always hope.
These freedoms, similar to the outer ones, must be fought for on the battlefields of my heart, my soul, my body and my mind with great strength and courage, every moment of every day.
HERE’S TO BRAVING THE FIGHT OF ALL FIGHTS TOGETHER!
“I AM A LEARNER AND I AM A TEACHER.” (Sarah Meassick’s Second Grade Classroom Mantra)
Eating Dinner Out: INTERRUPTED by one-year-old standing in high chair, demanding loudly to get down and teeter around.
Checking My Phone: INTERRUPTED by little hands reaching for me with books in tow.
Sleeping Somewhat Peacefully: INTERRUPTED by cries at 2 am. Thankfully, hear doors opening and steps of mommy above with calming voice.
Making Breakfast: INTERRUPTED by loud noise with sudden horrible smell. Time for a change of all current clothing. Mommy sleeps soundly.
Costco Shopping: INTERRUPTED by constant “more,” pointing to bag of snap pea crisps.
Writing Blog Post: INTERRUPTED by sounds indicating nap time is already over WAY TOO SOON.
All those feelings of early mothering years flood back to me as I spend two days with my grandson. Interruptions abound. I didn’t like them then and I still don’t like them today! “I can’t get what I want to do done.” “I have lots of important stuff to take care of.” “People are counting on a blog post tomorrow. (I know, I have delusions of grandeur.)”
My thoughts are suddenly INTERRUPTED! A new voice stops me right in my tracks and sends me in another direction as I hold my grandson cozy and close upon waking from his nap, the only time he cuddles and snuggles, the extra busy toddler he is. “I have a lot to learn from this little boy in my arms.” “He is a very wise teacher.” “This is probably what really matters.” “Forget the blog post! (HAHA. Obviously not.)”
THIS CHILD (Unlike Me At Times):
- Expresses what he needs (sometimes loudly). He doesn’t feel guilty about it. He is highly comfortable with both negative and positive emotions, never stuffing how he really feels.
- Eats healthy and only enough to satisfy. Oh how I wish!
- Loves unabashedly. He doesn’t hold back showing affection and delight. He lights up when he sees those he loves and makes it clear he is thrilled to be with them.
- Sings and dances freely. He dances like “everyone is watching.” In fact, he relishes when others not only watch, but sing and dance along with him.
- Rests when he’s tired. Enough said. (I don’t know anyone who doesn’t do that … tongue-in-cheek emoji inserted here) Maybe I will go take a nap now.
- Explores new things with ferocity. “Life is a daring adventure or nothing” (Helen Keller) is the mantra of this boy.
- Seeks out those who love him. This is my favorite. He isn’t afraid to be really loved and cared for! If only!
I am finishing up now that it’s thankfully bedtime, having been INTERRUPTED all afternoon and evening since the wake-up-from-nap-time. Guess what? It wasn’t so bad after all. I actually enjoyed it. No wonder when Jesus was INTERRUPTED by children, He said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Where else can I get belly giggles and bear hugs, song-singing and arms reaching? Sounds a lot like the kingdom of heaven to me! I’m sure these aren’t the last lessons gleaned from the wisdom of this 24 pound, bundle of love, joy, and life! Keep INTERRUPTING little one! You’ve cracked my heart wide open!
“The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” (Paul)
It’s a cry heard all over parenting land.
BUT I took my prenatal vitamins and I did exactly what the doctor told me. Why does my baby have a heart defect?
BUT I waited until she was “ready” for potty training and I followed the exact steps that worked for all my friends. Why is my six year old still wetting the bed?
BUT I had him evaluated and got him a specialized tutor. Why is his teacher still telling me he’s not doing well in school?
BUT I gave up my job and made her a complete priority in my life, even leaving cute notes in her lunch. Why is she rolling her eyes at me and hardly ever coming outside of her room?
BUT I never had liquor in the house and he’s been through all the drug and alcohol awareness programs. He’s even seen his friends lose their licenses. Why did I just find vodka under my senior’s bed?
BUT I took her to church her whole life and we even had family devotions. Why did my college student just reveal that she doesn’t believe in God anymore?
BUT I paid for four years at a good college and I remember the dreams he had growing up about becoming a doctor. Why did he barely receive his diploma and can’t even find a steady-paying job?
BUT I TRIED MY BEST AND LOVED HER WITH MY WHOLE HEART, WHY IS SHE STILL NOT OKAY?
We want so desperately in our lives to have A + B always = C. We want the formulas to work. We get advice from all kinds of sources (friends, parenting books, the internet, pastors, counselors, doctors) and we cry in frustration “BUT I…” when the recipe ends up more like all those Pinterest fails we’ve seen on the internet (note the picture above).
When I was just a wee bit younger (okay, like 30 years ago, but I’m not that old, right?!), I believed wholeheartedly in all the formulas, and especially that they would work. Why wouldn’t I? It’s perfect. Just do all right things, make all the right choices and life goes the way it should. I’d heard it from preachers, parents, teachers, friends, authors, and I’d repeated it endlessly in my own head. Being the “good Christian” woman that I was, I brought this into my parenting. Of course I did.
As you may have heard in my Podcast with Sarah, our oldest (CLICK HERE TO LISTEN – IT’S WORTH IT), these lovely formulas worked with her. She was naturally compliant. She loved the formulas herself. (If we were Catholic, she probably would have wanted to be a nun.) She followed all the rules, had sticker charts completely filled in, received accolades in school for being the best citizen, and excelled at “being a good Christian” whatever that means. Our formulas seemed to work (especially to the outside world).
But inside our home, they weren’t. She struggled with tummy aches even as early as three. She had full-blown Obsessive Compulsive Disorder at 10 years old. She struggled to go away to sleep away camp for a week when she was 14 because she couldn’t leave the perceived “safety” of our home. She needed meds for her anxiety in college. As much as she and I tried our hardest to make A + B = C, it just didn’t happen. The “right” side of the equal sign became D or J or V or most like a giant question mark.
WHY? I screamed in desperation. I was doing everything right!
Should I just try harder? Maybe I am doing something wrong? Maybe the equation isn’t right? All questions that swirled around in my head.
And believe me, I still tried to fix it for years. I read books, took parenting classes, listened to podcasts, asked friends, had mom prayer circles and even begged Allen to figure it out.
Still, I couldn’t make A + B = C.
New questions swirled. If this doesn’t work, then what? What do I do now? How do I parent? What really makes me a good mom (something I so desperately wanted and still want)?
It’s funny how when we come to the end of our trying and our finagling and our controlling and our rope and our selves, our hearts open to the possibility of something new. A new thought. A new possibility. A new way.
God used the end of all of this for something new in me. A new thought about what matters in our family. A new possibility of how to be a mom. A new way of seeing my child.
He invited me into relationship, both with Himself and with my children. At first, this uncertain place seemed like a curse. It would take lots more time and wisdom when making decisions. I might not even make the same choice twice. What I did for one child in one circumstance might not be the best for a different one. There might be “it’s unfair” shouts. It would be complicated, messy.
But as I embarked on this different journey of parenting with much trepidation, I found that it just might be a gift, and a good one at that. Instead of living in a “what I wish were true” place, I began to live in a “what’s actually true” space. Life is messy and no amount of “doing the right thing” ensures complete safety and success.
I slowly began to gain freedom from the formula master, one chain link at a time. Instead of viewing my child as a problem to be solved, I began to see them as a mysterious person to be known, loved and enjoyed (kind of like action thriller enjoyment, which is scary and fun all at the same time). Instead of seeking certainty, I began to pursue wisely-placed trust, trust in a wild God, One I can’t control, but One who is completely good and utterly safe. He doesn’t need any formula for my children to thrive and be okay (the real cry of my heart).
My relationship with my kids slowly began to change. Instead of having an agenda (the sum of the equation), I could just BE with them, no matter where they were or what they were doing (good or bad). It was hard for me, like super hard. I know best, especially as a mom. I want what’s best for them. I know how they should get there. But it doesn’t come from the best place. I like a little bit (I mean a lot) of control. But we all know how control works out (see formula above). It doesn’t.
As I turned the tables (another new thought), I realized I don’t want to be anybody else’s agenda or project. Neither do my kids. Instead of “here is what I think you should do, be, act like, etc., I love when others say, “I’m with you,” and that’s the end of it. That’s what my kids want. I don’t want to feel like I’m going to the principal’s office when I am with someone. Neither do my kids. It creates defensiveness, hiding, guilt, shame, people-pleasing, all the yuck we parents are now in counseling for ourselves.
However, when someone is just WITH ME in my beautiful, messy life where sometimes I make bad choices or think terrible thoughts, unconditional love opens the door for vulnerability and trust. THIS is what my kids want. All the good stuff happens the most in this safe place. No one is going to counseling for this.
Now I had a new question. Was it as simple as love God and love others (including those people who’ve been placed in this family under my purview)? Yes.
Formulas are not love. To boot, they don’t work. Loving God is trusting Him (the hardest part of parenting), especially when things don’t go as planned. DON’T FORGET: it is a trust that is wisely placed. IT BRINGS US FREEDOM.
Agendas are also not love. Loving others (our kids) is being WITH them, especially when they are not where we think they should be or want them to be. That’s a love that’s unconditional and safe. IT BRINGS THEM FREEDOM.
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I saw this today on Facebook from my fellow-blogger, Janet Newberry. I’m not sure what you are waiting for, frustrated by, questioning, or can’t see the “plan for” today, especially with Tuesday looming on the horizon.
Sometimes Christmas cheer “being sung for all to hear” leaves us staring at the reality of our own lives and wondering, “Can anything good come out of all of this?” Janet’s reminder to my heart today was too GOOD not to share here with you readers! You can read more about her at the end!
Anyone else need to be reminded today?
God has a plan.
These words were a gift to me in prayer several weeks ago:
And I forget.
I forget because, with eyes of sight, I don’t see the plan. We’re spending this Christmas season in an ugly RV park. This morning we wake up crowded with the laundry we hung to dry yesterday and the Christmas presents that need to be wrapped–all sharing our tiny space.
There’s no place to sit in here.
There’s no place to invite friends–or enjoy family.
The booth you see in the pic is our dining table, office space, my writing desk—and gift wrapping center.
As beautiful as it is to travel in Freedom (our Airstream)—it is not our home away from home. It is our 365 days a year home. 19 months into this adventure, we are feeling all the feels of a small space on a rented spot—where we plug in, but don’t belong.
RV parks are functional—not beautiful.
I get frustrated pretty easily when functional gets to take precedence…and beautiful seems to be forgotten.
So, today, I am writing these words—and making them public, because they are the beautiful I am holding onto with all my heart:
And I am remembering that the manger was not a revision to the nativity story. Mary and Joseph were not cursed with “no room in the inn.” They were entrusted with the ordinary—and given eyes to see the extraordinary.
In the middle of the not beautiful—and honestly ugly, and simply functional—Mary and Joseph held the extraordinary in their arms and in their hearts.
The manger didn’t interrupt God’s story. It was His story.
God didn’t look for someone more able to care for His Son when Mary and Joseph failed to create a social media applaudable baby nursery.
Christ was born into the chaos—and into the tiny space of the manger—because this was God’s plan.
Love fits perfectly in tiny spaces. Perfect love casts out fear—when we trust Him.
The story of the coming Messiah had been written very differently in the minds of those who longed for Him to come.
We write our own stories in our waiting.
Christ was going to come as a King! A new ruler! “Us” instead of “them” was finally going to win!
God’s story was love. God’s plan is for “us” and “them.” When Love rules, we all win.
And the manger was not Mary and Joseph’s permanent home. God kept speaking. The angels kept leading. And the story of Jesus’ life continued.
Out of Bethlehem. To Jerusalem. Back to Galilee. Nazareth.
“Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:46)
That may be your question today, too. “Can anything good come out of this?”
Today’s place in your story may not be what you’ve “planned for.” And it’s not the place you want to stay. You can’t yet see the words on the next page. Me, neither.
Will you remind me, too, friends?
Together, let’s trust the One who’s holding the pen. He’s “PLANNED FOR” you.
He’s “PLANNED FOR” me, too.
Today’s setting and circumstances—in your story, and ours—don’t come as a surprise to our Father. He knows.
He knows our hurts and our hopes—and He has a plan to touch both—with beautiful.
THERE IS GREAT HOPE!
Janet Newberry is an educational consultant– and an unshakeable believer in the transforming power of love. Janet and her husband Doug have sold their home and travel America in an Airstream named Freedom.
Janet and Doug help families have real conversations without shame, so children have the freedom to ask for help in relationships of trust.
Janet coaches families in personal relationships as they connect with her in online classes that help people untangle fear and trust love.
“Trust me. There is no formula for most things that are not math.” (Daniel Pinkwater)
godly husband + passionate wife = great marriage
great marriage + good parenting = well-behaved child
well-behaved child + right school and strong youth group = wise-choice making teen
wise-choice making teen + strong college = successful adult
successful adult + other successful adult = godly husband + passionate wife
And the formula goes round and round. Or does it?
When I was just a wee bit younger (okay, like 30 years ago, but I’m not that old, right?!), I believed wholeheartedly in the formula above. Why wouldn’t I? It’s perfect. Just do it all right, make all the right, godly choices and life goes the way it should. After all, isn’t that what I’ve heard my whole life from preachers and family and professors and authors and friends and even from my own head? Things like: “Blessed is the man who does not walk in step with the wicked…whatever he does prospers.” (Psalm 1) “We proved to ourselves that when you do things right, good things happen.” (Tom Sawyer) And my new favorite:
To say it again: just do it all right, make all the right, godly choices and life goes the way it should.
What happens then?
Somewhere along the line of that cute little formula, the “right” side of the equal sign fails to happen. Sometimes it goes like this:
godly husband + passionate wife = messy divorce
great marriage + good parenting – child with Oppositional Defiance Disorder
well-behaved child + right school and strong youth group = teen substance abuser
wise-choice making teens + strong college = struggling-to-find-or-keep-a-job adult
successful adult + other successful adult = distant husband + depressed wife
For many years, I counted on the formula. When it didn’t seem to be working, I just tried harder. “It must be something I’m doing wrong,” I thought. “Maybe I don’t have the equation right.” After all, there is a way to guarantee a great marriage, well-behaved children, wise-choice making teens, and successful adults, right? I read “10 Step” books. I made long prayer lists on color-coded index cards. I went to seminars and then led them. My formula-living was not limited to the above scenarios. Much of my life was permeated by this black-and-white thinking.
Until the formulas stopped working. Good people got divorced. My kids weren’t all that well-behaved at times. Many teens, including my own, made “not-so-wise” choices and some of my children’s friends struggled with addiction. Well-educated people had a hard time finding a job. Many lost their jobs. Successful people were anxious and depressed, including me. Ugh.
My idea of how the world worked came crashing down. I didn’t know what to think. Anxiety took over. Hopeless thoughts came much more than I wanted them to. I kept trying harder. It just got worse. Finally, I came completely unraveled. UNRAVELED. My carefully-built-rubber-band-ball-of-how-life-works began snapping. If not this, then what? What do I do now? How do I live? UNRAVELED.
BUT, (and I love these “buts” of life) what seemed like a tunnel without a light became just what God used for a whole new “RE-RAVELING” as Rachel Held Evans refers to it: a very different way of looking at people and relationships and what matters. I began to live in more truth and with that truth came some slow steps toward freedom.
Once the formulas were stripped away, I was invited into relationship, both with God and with others. At first, this uncertain place seemed like a curse. It would take lots more time and wisdom and there wouldn’t be simple answers. It would be complicated, messy. But as I embarked on this different journey with much trepidation, I found that it just might be a gift, and a good one at that. The truth is that life is messy and no amount of “doing the right thing” ensures complete safety and success. This might sound harsh and hopeless at first glance, but it is actually helpful and freeing. Instead of viewing life as a problem to be solved, I began to see it as a mysterious adventure to be enjoyed (kind of like action thriller enjoyment, which is kind of scary and fun all at the same time). Instead of seeking certainty, I began to pursue wisely-placed trust, trust in a wild God, One I can’t control, but One who is completely good and utterly safe. I am steadily (actually it seems to be in fits and starts) finding that as trust is developed, love thrives. And this is what I truly want. Chasing certainty is slavery; carefully-placed trust in a God who loves us is freedom.
My relationship with others slowly began to change as well. Instead of having an agenda (the sum of the equation), I began to believe that I could just BE with others, no matter where they land on the spectrum of life. This is hard for me. I really struggle with this. I have an agenda for everyone. I think I know best. I want you to change for the better. And I believe I know how you should get there. It doesn’t come from the best place. It’s because I think I am better and know better. I like a little bit (I mean a lot) of control. UGH. But as I’ve turned the tables, and the truth is told, I don’t want to be anybody else’s agenda or project. Instead of “here is what I think you should do, be, act like, etc., I love when others say, “I’m with you,” and that’s the end of it. I don’t want to feel like I’m going to the principal’s office when I am with someone. No one wants that. It creates defensiveness and hiding. However, when someone is just WITH ME in my beautiful, messy life, this unconditional love opens the door for vulnerability and trust. Change is much more likely to happen in this safe space. As Bob Goff says in his book, Love Does, this kind of “love operates more like sign language than being spoken outright.” I need more of this in my life, both ways.
The best thing for us (and our world) is to love God and love others. Formulas are not love. And to boot, they don’t work. Loving God is trusting Him, especially when things don’t go as planned. It is a trust that is wisely placed. IT BRINGS US FREEDOM. Agendas are also not love. Loving others is being with them, especially when they are not where we think they should be or want them to be. That’s a love that’s unconditional and safe. IT BRINGS THEM FREEDOM.
I am glad my rubber band ball came UNRAVELED. I am also very thankful I am on the path to RE-RAVELING. I don’t know about you, but I want to keep living in and from these places, creating safe spaces for both myself and others, filled with vulnerability, trust, love and freedom. In the end, St. Paul was so right when he wrote, “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” Let’s do what counts together!
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