#cultivatecourageous · #write31days · Brave · Frailty · relationships · Stories

3 fictional characters that describe you: GO

Have you created a photo collage on your social media of the 3 Fictional Characters that best describe you yet?    Who reminds you of you?

Whether or not you choose to join in, asking a friend what their 3 Fictional Characters are is really just a great conversation waiting to happen. Continue reading “3 fictional characters that describe you: GO”

#cultivatecourageous · #write31days · Brave · Family · relationships

Who are your people?

I love the part in every friendship when I get to talk about my people.  My blood people, my family.

No matter where I met you, what the setting was for us to be tossed happily together into this wild concoction of connectedness outside of our private worlds, it always matters who we came from.

I find that the particulars of whether you’re married and have children, or whether you still have both parents, can come up early on as facts, and then drop out of view while our friendships take shape.  The fun and the support of our relationship happens outside of the presence of those people once we graduate to being friends who leave the kids at home, especially as women.

And still… your family are your people before anyone else gets invited into your heart.  And what went on in your home of origin is the story arc that starts the trajectory of your life before you get the chance to take the wheel.

Sometimes I can make out the dark cloud of a core family story overshadowing my friend and it shades who she is now for reasons I can only guess at.  Those stories take trust to emerge – there is no rushing trust.  But there is preparation.  This is the brilliance of the questions we ask in our friendships.

If you’ve looked over the questions in this series, you’ve probably already guessed there are some strong themes surfacing.

  • Stories give us the chance to say how I became the person you get to be friends with.
  • You prove that you can be trusted with my time and my heart by showing up, being real, and noticing the little things.
  • Questions are gifts that need to be opened at the right time, but knowing the best ones in advance can help you to be ready to drop one when that time presents.
  • There is a before and an after in every friendship – a time before you were friends, that is over.  Friendships need acknowledgement that they exist and matter for the bond to grow stronger.

The Bible, the story of the family of God, explains that there was a time before God knew us, too, a time before we were his people.

God wanted a people for himself.  He, the three in One, exists as a family, as his own People, and he is utterly selves-sufficient.  He didn’t need us to be Himself, to rule and reign, to be worthy or to be happy.  But he chose to call up a people.  He is still doing this.  And he can’t stop talking about it.

Hosea 2:23
I will sow her for Myself in the land. I will also have compassion on her who had not obtained compassion, And I will say to those who were not My people, ‘You are My people!’ And they will say, ‘You are my God!’

1 Peter 2:10 New Living Translation
Once you had no identity as a people; now you are God’s people. Once you received no mercy; now you have received God’s mercy.

Leviticus 26:11

Moreover, I will make My dwelling among you, and My soul will not reject you. 12 I will also walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people.

Exodus 6:7 New Living Translation
I will claim you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God who has freed you from your oppression in Egypt.

Have you ever been separated from your people?  You long for them.

A thing inside you that is still attached feels taught and still strong as steel.  When they leave this earth, that thread remains, and you have to figure out how to live with that- that sense of being still connected to someone who is out of touch and out of earth.  But the longing is the same, whether you’re apart for a time or separated by death.  They are still your people, and who you are is still indelibly colored by their love.

My people.
My people. Julia, me, David, and Emily in Cape Cod this past summer.

You’ve got people, I’ve got people, and the skin to skin love we know is visceral and defies explanation.  We just love them.  I think it’s like that with God and his people.  If you know Jesus as the Son of God, and belong to the family of God by faith, you are his people and everything he ever said or ever will say about them, he is saying right now about you.

Picture the first time you explain who your people are to a new friend.  Of course you’ve got your cellphone out so you can show the pictures!  It’s not enough that this is her name, and what the birth order was, it’s important to you to display her face.  Her face – the one that makes you melt every time you see it – the one that means the world to you.  No details are complete with out the visual, so you show your family to your “framily” (friend-family).  It makes your joy whole.  Your heart says, “You two must meet”.

Mark, me, Mom, Dad, and Eric, together for my Mom's 60th birthday.
Mark, me, Mom, Dad, and Eric, together for my Mom’s 60th birthday.

This is the Father’s heart for us.  To be with him, to all see each other’s beautiful faces, and to feel the family resemblance.

I know this post may seem a departure from the tone of the others (and it’s twice as long!) in our series on questions that grow good friendships great – but, is it really?  My people, the ones I grew up from, sort of come in the room with me everywhere I go. If you know me, you’ve felt them.  And I am also in the family of God.  So if you know me, you’ve met my Father.

It is my heart that you two should meet.  I always pray to that end.  If I’m urgent, creative, annoying persistent, and embarrassingly honest here in this place, it’s all for that reason.  <3

I love to talk about my people, they are my favorite topic every minute of every day.  Can you imagine the Father feels that way about you?  He gushes about you, does all he can to bless you, and sends you sloppy wet love notes like this one.  He can’t help himself.

Because you are His people.  Receive it, and take pleasure in that identity as the plural you – all of you – when you talk about your people, your family, with your new people, your friends.  The ones you love not just by happenstance, but by choice.

 

~

Did you miss a question or two in the series? Just head over to the main topic page for #CultivateCourageous.

#cultivatecourageous · #write31days · Books · relationships · Stories

Is it okay that I’m not you?

The minute I learned I was having a second daughter, I was deliriously happy for my firstborn.  I didn’t have sisters, but God let me make some girls to keep me surrounded by women.

No matter who your people are, the ones who get you and the ones who begot you all serve to form your identity – as different from them.

As soon as we are in school, boys and girls, we all start asking these questions, and sometimes they plague us for life.

“Am I like her?”

“Is it okay if I’m not?”

Yikes.  Flashback.

I have a stubborn memory of being teased at recess because I carried a purse AND I wore it across my body instead of on one shoulder – of being shamed by friends in public who were close to me in private.  We all want to belong, but need to be unique – the tension is consistent, isn’t it?  That’s why “high school’s never over.”*.  It follows us up the years even in our friendships, that sensation of being torn when we stand out because the solidarity of sameness is so powerful.

God has revised that memory for me to show me that I’ve always had a creative identity; I still like cross-body bags, and I still choose to love a wild bouquet of people. I like originals. One of my favorite things about life in Christ is unveiling his fingerprints together.  We don’t have to all be the same.  Isn’t that fantastic?

Regarding the differences that reveal themselves as friends grow closer, what you really want to know when you hold an unpopular stance is, are you going to leave me now?  The people who have stayed in my life beyond the sticky early days are the people who are not intimidated by their own identity, so they can safely appreciate mine.

The big idea is this; dare to disagree.  It will help you skip right to real friendship.

Our anomalies rattle the security of our bonds, but with every love we need to find a safe way to be ourselves together. So stay in your lane and admire the view.  When a friend makes a choice that you’d never make, just smile and say boldly, “I love that about you!”

 *Prudie to her husband in a line from The Jane Austin Book Club
~
 Did you miss a question or two in the series? Just head over to the main topic page for #CultivateCourageous.
#cultivatecourageous · #write31days · Believe · relationships

You know I’m here for you, right?

 

img_0116On October 5th, in case you missed it, coffee shops all over the place were transformed for a day into Luke’s Diner from Gilmore Girls because Netflix sponsored a campaign to get folks excited for the Gilmore Girls reunion broadcasts. This is everything you need to know about that.  Overwhelmed with nostalgia (as a mom of daughters) I  hit up my local proprietor A&E Coffee Roastery for some good ole Luke’s.

Why are we so enraptured by the down-home feeling that a TV show generated?  In their dysfunctional lingering, these townspeople became family for each other – they were the group of friends we all wish we had.

No one wants to obligate anymore.

“I don’t know what it is about her,” you might say, “but I just don’t feel like she’s there for me.”  Why do you think you have that iffy feeling?

1. Because she’s not.  If you feel like your friend is still looking over your shoulder for something better to come along, she probably is.

or

2. Because your friend has not yet had an opportunity to show you real commitment.

In friendship there’s no engagement ring.  No friendship Facebook status – “in a relationship” or “it’s complicated”!  But we know when someone has decided to obligate to us when she comes to the funeral, she knows when you were born, she brings your coffee order, or when she flat out tells you, “you know I’m here for you right?”

You know I'm here for you, right?

Maybe you want to be there for her.  That’s not the same – it’s a start, though.  I know I’ve let friends down when I over promise and under deliver, and that’s probably the reason we don’t hang out anymore.  One of us unhooked.  Obligation is that big of a deal.

There is a period in every friendship when you two just don’t know yet whether you’ll care any more than you do.  It’s a healthy trust walk we dare on the way to finding our bff’s, but it’s super fun, too, and that’s why we keep going.  But if we buy in to today’s untailored relationship style, without honest attachment, we could easily find ourselves wondering why we have no full grown friendships, when the narrative is we just never obligate to anyone.  We want people to be there for us, but we won’t go first.

Sure, it’s risky to depend on each other.  Love and learn.  Find your way.  Because you’re not fooling anyone with all your love-ish intentions that you think should be perceived as genuine kinship.  If you want to be there for her, come through.

Real love is obvious.

Did you miss a question or two in the series? Just head over to the main topic page for #CultivateCourageous.

Mercy · the Word · Worth

thirsty roots and fig stranglers

Thirsty basil.

We love basil, we buy it in bouquets.  I love to bury my face in it.  It takes a lot of basil to make pesto for our crew, so when David picks some up, he comes home with at least 10 bunches – in fact our local farm stand always gives him extra for free.   They see him coming and they head for the walk-in.

A few weeks ago, I took a few little unloved branches off the counter, and before they could turn (which happens fast with basil), I dropped them in an old glass milk bottle I use for flowers, and filled it up with water.  It’s been growing wild roots on my window sill.

Continue reading “thirsty roots and fig stranglers”