Have you heard the one about the jock and the last kid picked, and how he vaulted the friend-zone and we ended up together? It’s one of my personal favorites; we both have our own versions. I am telling mine lately with a probing friend who will not let me gloss over the varnished phrases that have collected a storied cadence.
“Wait. Go back,” Blair says, “because you were not in love and then you were. Say how that went.” She wants the messy part detangled and she knows I know exactly what happened. She can wait.
Dang that girl.
Love her to pieces.
How blessed am I to have a friend like that? Someone unimpressed by my tale-telling and willing to step on toes and slow me down so I get the chance to confess how arrogant I was and how patient he was, and how we fell in trust before we fell in love.
Have you ever fallen in love and expected trust to tag along politely….only to find that it didn’t? Did you ever feel jealous of Meredith and Cristina? I mean, have you ever wondered who “your people” are?
“You are my person.” – Meredith Grey, Season 2, episode 1, “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head”
“Don’t leave your people.”
My husband’s father offered this on the subject of us moving from where we live now. Intrepid words from one who, bless his heart, never bosses us around. He is now the father fiercely on his son’s team – his coach heart almost never leading out, but always leading with. For this reason, his words are weighted and precious.
So, who are they? Our people? And how do we know?
Blair helped me remember.
If we were to look at the timeline of my life, I could tell you every best friend I ever had, and when I stopped having them in favor of a quiet tribe of folks who are my people.
To me, they are the ones I trust myself to. They are, among others things:
- Family members who can read my tension from a phone call.
- Ordinary folks who trample norms to nest in my life despite my fearful resistance.
- People who make me feel known, specific, endeared, and at rest.
- Brave women (mostly) who, after the dust settles on the mess I’ve made or been sideswiped by, rush to the wreck, unafraid of my bruises.
- Friends who notice the gaps in my story and won’t settle for a tired version of it, because they know I’m timid with my truth – setting out portions when portions will do.
My people more than love me, but love is not the proof that I’m home in our “us”. Love arrived first, but trust brewed the coffee so it would stay.
In fact, I’m coming out of the closet as Team Trust on the subject of what seals the deal in my essential relationships. Love is easier than trust for me, it’s a given. I don’t struggle to love.
Are you thinking about your people? It’s perfectly fair in a new season of life, and those can start anytime, to wonder who your people are, or where they have gone. Maybe you fell in trust and skinned both knees. You’re not a fan.
Let me kindly offer that your people are not always the ones you thought you had set firmly into the role and hammered down, personally. Give yourself time to wince over that shocker. All is not lost. You have people and you have Person.
I think it’s cool that God calls us His people. And His people, in the Bible, are a big deal. They are created, provided for, renamed, elevated, disciplined, set apart, and given a Kingdom.
You will be my people, and I will be your God. Jeremiah 30:22
We have a valiant God who rushes us with His love and isn’t ashamed of our shame. He lays claim to his own with a covering, His covenant, and reveals for us a new identity that changes our standing before Him, our standing in our culture, and even our intimate sense of self. By His Son’s sacrifice, anyone who unites to Him by faith becomes holy ground.
When God tells the story of His people, he speaks of longing and tearless somedays with the language of love. He trusts himself to us without boundaries. He goes first, always, to be our most ardent Person.
When I think about Him, I stop feeling person-less. I lift off the cumbersome yoke that I used to lay on you to be responsible for me in case I’m ever left totally alone in the universe. Because that is not going to happen.
But we forget, and we need to be reminded, so we have church, community, and we have our friends. Here in human land, you must be a person to get a person. I love how Jess Connolly put it recently regarding how we learn to be vulnerable together at the risk of breaking each other.
You go first. You go, scared. – Jess Connolly, from Dance Stand Run (available October 2017)
For me, that day when I told the story of how my husband and I finally pulled it together, Blair lit the match and I let her. It takes two. She was the one unafraid to ask for more of me than I was offering, so she got the whole story – parts I didn’t even know I remembered.
Loving is safer when trust gets there first. How do we do this? Volunteer your best shoulder-shrug the next time you honestly don’t know how to solve a problem. Dare to be broken instead of polished (which is that thing we do only for ourselves) so that trust can root. It is safe to be real, you have grace for that. Just think what trust could reach that plain old love has been incapable of?