Too many of us feel isolated and lonely.
Sure, friendships take time… time we don’t always feel we have to spare. And yet, I don’t think we can afford to not spend the time on relationships. God designed us for it!
The theme at LIFT (an event I spoke at last week; if you’re local to Boise, I hope you attended!), was community and connection. Our aim is for women to live inspired, fearless, and thriving lives. And we believe that’s best done in community.
I vividly remember my first week of kindergarten. The playground was already swarming with children when I arrived on the school bus. They all appeared to be having so much fun… without me. So, I simply leaned against the brick wall and waited for the bell to ring, believing I couldn’t add anything to the party-in-progress. Even at 46 years old, I sometimes wonder whether I have something of value to contribute to the lives of those around me. That just keeps me sitting on the sidelines, missing out on the rich fellowship that God intended for us to enjoy. If God made me (and He did), and is the Author of my story (and He is), then I bring something of unique value to the world.
And so do you.
What’s keeping you on the sidelines of community? Is it fear of not being accepted? Not believing you have something to offer? We need you. The world needs you. Lean into the circle, ladies; share your voice, your story, your perspective, and yes, even your struggles.
But that’s only half of the equation.
We’ve got to do a better job of accepting one another, too. We can’t expect each other to be brave, authentic, and vulnerable without creating a safe environment to do it. We don’t have to pretend we don’t have differences. We don’t have to avoid those issues. Instead, we need to learn how to have those conversations in a congenial, loving way. When we’ve got mommy wars over the likes of diapering and feeding choices, how can we expect to conduct ourselves well in matters of infinitely greater importance and weight, like church doctrine, social policies, and even political ideologies? Much as we lean to one side to embrace a friend physically, we can do so figuratively in dialog for the sake of closeness and understanding… for community.
I love the way Chip Gaines responded to some recent controversy. Here’s an excerpt:
Our family wants to fight for a world that knows how to lovingly disagree. We believe it starts when we operate from a position of love in all things. If your position only extends love to the people who agree with you, we want to respectfully challenge that position. We propose operating with a love so real and true that you are willing to roll up your sleeves and work alongside the very people that are most unlike you. Fear dissolves in close proximity. Our stereotypes and vain imaginations fall away when we labor side by side. This is how a house gets unified.
He said that he and Joanna want to be bridge builders, to “to help initiate conversations between people that don’t think alike.” What I love most about that idea is that the Latin word for priest, pontifex, means “path maker” or “bridge builder.”
Whaddya say, team?
Let’s start building some bridges.
Enclosed are some photos from LIFT that really capture what a terrific night it was. See our most recent blog post for others. Want to bring LIFT to your church or town as a way to build bridges within your community? We’d love to join you in that effort; just shoot me an email!
- LIFT is being featured in the next Eagle Mazagine!
- I’ll be speaking at TEDxTwin Falls. Tickets on sale now.