“I can’t do this. I’m currently cleaning my house from top to bottom.”
The little circles on my phone bubbled indicating my friend–a life saver had gotten my text was texting me back.
“Wanna go for a run?”
I breathed deep. Her message translated to this, “You are not alone. You can get through this. I’m here in this moment with you.” Tomorrow was the big day. The race. A moment in time where I would forever be defined by finishing or not finishing the race. All of the training, 4 months of early mornings, late nights, the 4:45 a.m. morning runs, the strained muscles and sore toe nails. All of it was coming down to this one defining moment. As a perfectionist and frequent “screwed that up” person, I was scared and my friend–this other woman became an anchor.
I’ve had a lot of those moments lately. Moments where I doubt myself and wonder if I am really the best mom for my kids or hate myself for going off the deep end when my husband makes a remark about my chubby thighs. But lately I find myself more scared than not because I’m peeling off the layers of Facebook perfected statues and replacing “I’m fine” with “I’m okay, I did ______ yesterday, ugh!”
And here’s what I’m finding, I’m beginning to flourish. Life tastes sweet with a little salt.
You see, when I open myself up, when I am real and willing to be barefaced, I extend grace to the person in my presence. We all desire to be connected. [Tweet “We all long to be drenched in grace, connected, and live at a rich sustainable level of life with others. This happens when we say the real things, do the real things. “]
C.S. Lewis once wrote, Don’t shine so that others can see you. Shine so that through you, others can see Him. I believe when we are real, when we extend the hand of grace in friendships we truly represent God.
It’s so easy to wear ourselves out, especially in the summer. Kids are home and we find ourselves in the midst of playdates, “Mom I’m bored” conversations, multitasking work projects with laundry. We become weary. We think someone else has it all together. We paint our faces and respond with, “I’m fine, how are you.”
Our souls become divided and our attention is split. I don’t want regret today, this summer or this year. I want to abundantly flourish and I can by doing two simple things:
1. Be present. Choose present over mult-tasking. Choose present over perfect.
2. Open my heart and connect where I am, as I am with the women around me. This is my community. This is my church. And this is where you can thrive too.
So each morning before my feet touch the floor. Before I hug my children, before I go to work. I pray this:
Make me a safe place Lord. Make me a haven for lonely and a sanctuary for the seeking. Lighten my heart with laughter and may the law of kindness be ever on my tongue. Strengthen my arms with gentleness and open my arms wide for the treasures of your kingdom. Open my hands with love and still my soul to be present. When I am in the community, make me a refuge where the fallen may rise and rest may be found. Let me NOT define others by the dirt on their lives or the scars on their hearts. Instead, make me bold to reveal the scars on my heart to create a bridged haven. May I be anchor where confession unites us and conversation restores our souls. May I choose to open the doors to my heart and home so others can flourish.
What about you? Is there someone in your life you can trust with the small confessions and the things?
How are you choosing to flourish this summer?