What Are True Friendships To You?

The past few weeks I’ve been thinking over friendships that I’ve had, the idea of best friends, close friends and the thousand+  friends/contacts I have on social media. I’ve lived primarily out of my passport country, the country of my birth, for over 11 years now. I clearly resonate far more with the younger generations, primarily Millenials, than I do with people my own age or just older than me. I have deep friends in the States still and keep in contact with a few on a regular, sometimes daily basis. I’m thankful for them. A couple of them have gone through the steps of recovery along with me and we continue on that journey together.

Last week I had two similar but distinctly different encounters with friends. One was over a phone call with a friend from the States-a friendship that we’ve had for many many years. The second was on an overnight camping trip here in the countryside with a friend that I have grown closer with the past seven years. After getting off the phone call I noticed something had changed, something was different. Actually it was a feeling that I had been there for a long time, but I wasn’t able to put my finger on what I was feeling. It wasn’t until I read an excerpt from a book by my favorite author, Henri Nouwen, that I could put words with my feelings. As Nouwen was visiting his family back in Holland after living abroad for so many years, he had this to say about his reunion with them, “The feeling of having become something of a stranger in my own family was strong throughout the whole day. I had not seen many of the people at the party for more than a decade. Our reunion made me realize how much had happened to them and to me, and made me sadly aware that I no longer know the soil on which we both stand.”*

That. That was the feeling I had been feeling that night as I hung up the phone. It was more than simply not being in the same culture, it was the notion that the ground in which we used to share commonality was eroded away into something different that I didn’t recognize. Not bad, simply different.

Contrast that with my closest friend apart from Iris. While camping we shared way too many laughs, and more than a few tears as we lived life out together raw and untamed. Our emotions and thoughts intersected as we talked about Jesus, coffee, camping, pain, the beautiful mountains we were in, family, cafe design, beer, and the Bible. There was a common ground, a common struggle and a common core belief that we shared. There is freedom for listening with no need for feedback  as well as freedom for pushback and disagreement. This was relationship at it’s core, and I am so very thankful.

I don’t believe that someone has to go through the exact same thing you have gone through, nor has to be older than you in order for them to understand you better. Though I believe everyone is uniquely made and does go through pain that as a total, is unique to them, I also believe that that same person is able find others who can identify with those same struggles and joys they have when looking at a small group or even a society of other people. Meaning, I believe we are not alone in our struggles nor our joys, that God has people around us who can walk with us and can identify with what we are going through. This is what I experience in true friendship and this is what I seek out.

This isn’t so much a call to action post as it is me simply sharing with you my own growth and learning of who I am in Christ. The friendships I seek out and desire are ones that are life giving and leading me to that end. I will say that part of that also involves pain as we are still people and we will disappoint each other. But, walking through the pain and seeing how that leads to peace and joy, it is worth it. As I was caught in a moment of reflection on that this week, maybe you may be encouraged to reflect on your friendships as well. And may God help you to be incredibly aware of His presence in and among them.

be blessed today

*”The Road To Daybreak: A Spiritual Journey” by Henri Nouwen.

Photo Credit:  me 🙂
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What Does Being Honest Mean?

I ran from God for a while. I was angry at my parents, at God, at other people. That was middle school to early high school. My sophomore year hit and I got to a point where realized the only person I was really angry at was me. I was selfish. I was self focused, and that caused a rift in my relationships. My desire to live a life that modeled helping others began to grow, but there was still a fear that God would punish me for being angry at him.

I would pray in bed at night, and as if some small way to appease a wrathful Creator, I would go through this small little saying of “goodnight, good morning, good afternoon God.” Trying to win His favor with some humor. If He is omnipresent, then I would need to say all three of those greetings, right? Unfortunately, this fear of His wrath was always with me. I could never just be me in a prayer or conversation with Him. I had to put on some kind of show, character or act in a way as to not make Him more mad.

Screwed up, I know, but it was what it was. As I began to grow in my faith and knowledge of Him, the more I began to see that there is a raw honesty in the Bible. Even at looking at other historical texts not in the Bible, but pointing to Him, there is an honesty that is stripped of niceties. From Song of Solomon to David almost cursing God at times, there is nothing more raw.

“Praying wasn’t being nice before God….The psalms aren’t pretty, they’re not nice… but it’s honest.”-Eugene Peterson

Bono, the lead singer for U2, and Eugene Peterson, recently got together at Peterson’s home to talk about faith and life. It’s 20 minutes, but this clip is definitely worth watching as these two creative minds who love Jesus are simply being honest. I’m sure I’ll refer more to this video in the future, but there was comment in particular that spoke to me.

Peterson states, “Praying wasn’t being nice before God….The psalms aren’t pretty, they’re not nice… but it’s honest.” There was an honesty, a breaking down of any desire to save face or put up a front. The honesty that David had to question God’s motives and actions. The honesty that David had to dance before his troops out of pure joy. An honesty in the prayers of Jesus pleading with God for another way for man to be saved. An honesty in Moses telling God of how useless he was and how he didn’t want to do what God was asking of him.

As I continue down this road, I am continually reminded how God desires honesty with Him. If he does really know all, well, He kind of knows what we’re thinking already. So, why not be honest with Him? With ourselves? That “hustle” I keep talking about, that fear that motivates us to try and make ourselves look better than others, that drives us to wear so many masks to save face, that hustle keeps us from being honest with ourselves. If we aren’t honest with ourselves, to the depths of even our darkest secrets, then how can we ever expect to experience the depths of God’s love? Love deep enough to cover us and bring peace even to those deep dark places we try to coverup?

The answer is we can’t. The more honest we are with ourselves and with God, the more understanding we have of His love. Some days I wish there was an end, an ultimate point we come to where we can say, “ok, that’s all of His love..we now know the end,” simply so I could know how deep it goes. But, then I’m reminded again of how limitless it is, and how grateful I am for it. The only way to gain greater depth of His love is to be honest. Stop pretending, stop hustling, stop putting up walls, and finally be you.

And enjoy living in your new freedom.

be blessed

 

 

Photo Credit: https://www.verywell.com/how-to-tell-if-someone-is-lying-2795917

 

Do You Have The Courage For Empathy?

There have been several times where I’ve had no words. There are some people who might find that hard to believe about me (I tend to talk a lot), but it’s true. At times I have been known to hustle-try to make myself look better in others eyes by providing some sort of “wisdom” or “advice.” But what it amounted to was me simply floating, fading, smoke filled words to build my ego, or at least save face.

There’s been a series of ads run in the U.S. from a help line for those who are dealing with family members struggling with substance abuse. The commercials usually have two people chatting, one obviously upset about something and the other simply there. The person struggling reveals that their child has a drug problem and then the other person doesn’t know what to say. Or perhaps worse, says something very similar to what I mentioned I do above. The commercials premise is great, helping people help their family members by giving them tools and resources.  But, it seems to be lumping two  very important things together that should never be linked.  Empathy and Sympathy.

I used to hand out sympathy left and right to people. To me, sympathy was pity. Sympathy can also mean having compassion, but often times to show someone sympathy is to show them pity. To say that they are lesser than, weaker than, worse off than myself or yourself, that’s pity. Knowing that I love Jesus and Jesus loves me, I walked around with some sort of arrogant pride in the love Christ has for me, and therefore had pity on other people. Perhaps it was simply my Western, White, American mind that had pity on those who had less than me. Perhaps that is why I still struggle with it. Perhaps, but that’s for another post.

To have pity on someone, only, is to simply put yourself above them. To have pity, only, is to feel bad because they feel bad. That isn’t compassion, that is co-dependency. Jesus showed compassion to others around Him. He wept because He was so overcome with compassion. Even God showed compassion on Jonah in the midst of Jonah’s judgemental pity on Ninevah, by letting a giant weed grow to provide Jonah shade from the hot sun. Jobs friends, on the other hand, had nothing to offer. They didn’t really seem to listen to Job. They simply handed out their advice and in the end, said it was all Jobs’ fault. Not only was this not true, it also wasn’t compassion. It was pity.

Having empathy is something a bit different. Empathy is trying to relate to another person, tying to see what is going on from their perspective, trying to have an idea of what they are going through. I wrote about my daughter last week, grieving saying goodbye to her school and friends she may never see again. I had compassion because she was really hurting. And I also had empathy because I have had to say goodbye to people I knew, not knowing if I would ever see them again. I had to be real, honest and vulnerable with myself in my emotions in saying goodbye to those I knew and loved in order for me to relate and have compassion for my daughter. And I had to dig deep into myself to find the same feeling that she was having.

My sister in law passed away unexpectedly three years ago. Iris was in the middle of grief and mourning. So was I. But, understandably so, Iris’ grief was far deeper than mine. This was her older sister. She shared a room with her growing up. She learned from her, watched her, and spent most of her life with her up until she met me. I had lost all four of my grandparents years ago, and that was a time of grieving for me. But I was young, and both of my siblings are still alive. So, I didn’t know how to relate or even understand what Iris was going through.I hadn’t had that experience. So, what was the only option? Sympathy?

Sympathy as compassion, yes. But not pity. Her walking down this road was also the beginning of my journey of understanding what I was feeling and allowing myself to feel. Thankfully, I was able to lean into my support system of friends, coaches, spiritual directors and others. God began a work in me to become more in touch with my feelings, why I was feeling them and what they were. This also came about from starting down the road of recovery. Sitting in meetings, talking with people and hearing their stories allowed me to dig deep and find those same feelings from past experiences in my own life. What I learned was that simply listening to her, acknowledging what she was feeling and honestly saying I had no idea what to say, was the most empathetic response I could have given. And she was thankful for me sitting in the midst of the darkness with her.

But digging deep, just like loving, is a process that brings about pain. Empathizing with someone going through a hard situation means you are tapping into the same feelings you had after going through a painful situation. We don’t like pain, because, well, it’s pain. It hurts. But when we have the courage to dig deep, be vulnerable and honest with ourselves and tap into those feelings, the joy of building relationship comes through. Empathy and compassion build relationship. Sympathy in the form of pity drives wedges between people. It holds others at an arms distance because we are too afraid to dig deep into ourselves to find those same feelings.

Empathy does not only come in hard times, but also in joyful times. Empathizing with someone when they are joyful of a pregnancy, marriage or promotion can also happen even if we have never experienced those exact things. But again, it comes with digging deep and being honest with ourselves. And even those times of joy can come om pain.

Jesus empathized and showed compassion. Though He was the most courageous of all, my prayer is that we strive for the same courage of our Savior.

Be Courageous. Be honest. Dig deep.

be blessed

 

Photo Credit: http://weheartit.com/entry/13536737

Do You Know How to Love Fiercely?

To love is to lose it all. To love is to willingly accept pain.

To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.    -C.S. Lewis

Our only daughter finished up her kindergarten career this past Tuesday. The school she attended was entirely in Mongolian, made up of mostly Mongolian kids, a few Korean children and her. There was only one other classmate that spoke English and that’s because her parents spent considerable time in the States studying. She had her final concert performance the week before and did simply awesome. But now it was Tuesday, her final day. Because it wasn’t a state run kindergarten, most of the kids will move on to other schools. But not hers. No one from her kindergarten will be attending her new school in the Fall.

As we walked out the door of her school, the contents of her locker and all remaining art work of hers in tow, the sobs from this little six yer old began to take over. We hopped into the car, she got buckled, and we began to drive out of the parking lot onto the main road. Her sobs became louder, her tears bigger as grief began to set in. Mourning this time in her life and all the friends she will miss and probably never see again, was where she was. She was fully engaged in it. She was fully embracing her losses. As Iris puts it, our little girl loves fierce. But with such fierce love comes a just as fierce pain of loss. She is six and thankfully she hasn’t learned defense mechanisms that hold her back from embracing such grief. At least I think she hasn’t learned them. Perhaps she has chosen to embrace the grief  instead of putting up walls, putting p her defenses or  running. Perhaps that is the case which makes her far more mature than I.

Oh to have her courage.

When we decide to love someone, we decide to lose. Lose what things we want for selfish gain and pride, to simply love someone other than our self. We decide to let down all barriers and accept that pain will now be a part of our lives. We can only love to the extent that we are willing to lose. We can only love to the extent that we are willing to accept pain. In order to love someone, I mean truly love them, we must be willing to lay it all out, bare it all, give the scalpel to the other person trusting that they will return the same openness, honesty and raw courageous love that we are giving them.

This means that we are accepting pain. We are accepting that no one is perfect and we will be hurt by them, just as they will be hurt by us. And it means that we are willing to walk through the path of pain to the joy of reconciliation and peace on the other side.

With this kind of love and pain comes a joy deeper than anything else. Jesus did this. He really did bare it all because He loved us. When He was on His knees pleading with the Father to not let what was about to happen, happen, we are not told if the disciples heard his ongoing prayer and plea. But, we are told of this. How intimate of God to reveal this to us.

To experience more of the fullness of God, His joy, His love, we must love Him like this. The more courageous we love Him, the more we understand the depth of His love. We are not meant to live in this world alone. God has called us to Himself and to those around us. In order to experience and understand more of God’s love, we must also love others just as fierce.

That cost is heavy as it comes with the price of pain. And the reward is something far greater than what we’ll suffer. This life is far more painful to live alone, never having that kind of openness, vulnerability and humility with others. The pathway to peace, they say, is hardship. My hope is that we, myself included, may we all live and love so courageously. Living how Christ lived to those around us. Living to the depth that He created us for.

Do you love like this? I know that when I begin to tell people I’m fine (which is an acronym most church folk may not like….I can tell you later) or OK, and brush it off like no big deal, I am not loving ferociously. In fact, we have banned that word from our house. I’m not being honest with them, and perhaps not honest with myself. When I begin to “not show up” with all of who I am, I am not allowing the other person to see me. I’m guarded, I’m defensive. These are walls I’m putting up. I am not saying bare everything to everyone around you. Some people are simply not in a place where they can handle that information well, nor treat you well. I am saying set up healthy boundaries where you are still showing up, being honest and vulnerable with others and using wisdom to determine how much is appropriate to share. But to not show up at all is based in the fear that we don’t want to get hurt. That is fear based, and our God is not a God of fear.

It takes being brave to love that courageously. Brene Brown says “It often takes just a single brave person to change the trajectory of a family, or of any system, for that matter.” Love is how we change the world.

Be Brave. Be Courageous. Love Fierce.

be blessed

 

Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/k2i4n6g8/6471148825/in/photostream/

Are You Going In Circles?

     It would be really nice if we could just follow everything in the Bible to a “T.”  Oh, and get a diploma or certificate at the end. Something we could look at and say “I have arrived.” No more issues, dealing with people or dealing with our self and our own stuff. Just a nice little certificate. And maybe a frame. Have a “graduation” party. Or perhaps a plaque. A glass one that looks really cool. Yes, heaven is nice and all, but wouldn’t it be nice to have something in the here and now?
     But, we don’t get a certificate, nor a plaque, not even a party. It isn’t a straight path from believing in Jesus to holiness. It just isn’t. And sometimes as we are on this path of becoming more holy, the changes in us aren’t even tangible. We can’t follow everything because we are us. We’re human. There is no “arrival.” Not in this life, anyway.
     AJ Swoboda writes “ As far as I can tell, there is no streamlined path toward arriving at holiness. Every path I can find seems to endure the same kind of bumpy circles that Israel endured. The real road to maturity is miserably slow. A to B in God’s kingdom sometimes includes lots of circles on the journey, a journey that is rarely linear. It would be nice if we were crows and flew the way they do. But God’s people never travel the way the crows do.” (AJ’s book “The Dusty Ones”)
     The lessons we learn come in the circles. They come in the times when we are trying to understand what is going on, leaning into community, into Christ. Not that we can’t learn when things are going well and God is clearly leading us, speaking to us and revealing Himself to us. But, it seems, that the times we learn and grow are the times when the vision we have isn’t clearly tangible, or at least, isn’t manifesting like we think.
     I do believe that among this circly (yes it’s a real word…that I just made up), ambiguous and sometimes seemingly un-efficient life, God teaches us in the most imaginative ways. I’ve written before about how disruption and holy distractions shake us from our hum drum, tunnel vision, going through the motions life to get our attention and create a sacred space for God to teach us. Sacred space that is created out of no where for the purpose of strengthening our faith and understanding in Him. Perhaps He uses these moments to vindicate Himself to those that mock him or to prove without a doubt who He is. Maybe. Moses is one small example. A burning bush in the middle of a normal, everyday day of shepherding sheep and suddenly the whole course of human history is completely shifted. Go fig.
     The Oh Hellos, a great band by the way, writes in their song I’ve Made Mistakes, “And the sun, it does not cause us, the sun it does not cause us to grow. It is the rain that will strengthen, the rain that will strengthen  your soul. And it will make you whole.” Yes, in those moments of what we would normally call blessings-sitting in the sun, picking daisies, everything’s going great- God is there and with us. However, there are also the other blessings, those times that are so agonizingly hard and sad that God actually does more teaching. More teaching in the Bible is from people going through hardships than in time of plenty, when everything is going well. Seriously.
     I think we forget that blessings are both. At least I know I do. It’s hard to see going through hard things as a blessing. Admitting when we were wrong and making amends with people is hard. But in that, the relationship is restored. Fear is removed. Courage and strength are given. All of those things are blessings. This in no way makes it easier. At all. And it is also something that I need to be reminded of when I am in the thick of whatever difficult situation I’m in. No matter how hard. Seeking out those who are trusted in the faith who have been through hardships and have been honest about them are great people to lean into. Hopefully for a listening ear and shoulder to cry on, but also to help us see beyond the situation we’re in. And see God’s presence has never left us. It’s all in circle.
How about you, have you had someone come alongside you and help to see God at work? Have you been there to simply be the presence of God to someone who is hurting? What did God do through you in that moment? What did He do in you?
be blessed today
photo credit: https://humancyclist.wordpress.com/2014/08/16/riding-fixed-gear-bike/

Lingering and The Butterfly Effect

Lingering and The Butterfly Effect

Butterflies. They’re pretty. The zoo near my folks place has an indoor butterfly garden that I just love. These incredibly delicate flying things. Metamorphosis is alone incredible. I really do enjoy them. They flutter around, looking for more food, cross pollinating for the betterment of crops, forests and wild flowers. They are beautiful. The normal life expectancy, on average, for a butterfly is around two weeks. As beautiful as they may be and flutter from here to there, they don’t live long.

Though I am an extrovert, I fall just over the extrovert/introvert line on the scale. I love to be in front of crowds and parties but in order to recharge I need solitude. Throughout high school and college, even into my early professional years, I was a social butterfly. Fluttering from here to there, trying to be as much apart of what was going on as I could. But I never fully committed to one group of people, one small group of friends. Fluttering around is ok, but eventually it will burn you. It isn’t sustainable. It isn’t something that will give you life, but in fact, will take it from you. Lingering, staying, eating well, drinking well, resting, loosing track of time…these are aspects, if done in moderation, of living a life in community. These are characteristics of living life, not just surviving it.

This past week we were able to host three professionals in the coffee world in the States. They came here to help in training our staff as well as a conference we were putting on. The conference, a huge success and the first of it’s kind here, was wonderful as we sought to build community amongst the coffee world here. Everyone who attended both vendors and the general public alike, thanked us for putting on such an event. I am incredibly thankful.

As a way to get away from the busyness that has consumed us the past several weeks, and a way to enjoy being with our three guests, we headed out to the countryside, to a national park to spend the night in a ger (yurt). Huddled in a 5 bed, one room ger with a single fluorescent light bulb and one wood burning stove in the middle, we were able to talk and just be. Talking about life, great “successes” and great “failures,” family whom we were all missing at the moment, praises and petitions, community was happening. This is where spiritual formation takes place. Moments of vulnerability, raw honesty and truth are where bonds are formed and where trust starts to be built.

I’ve had moments like this with my kids, with Iris, with friends both next door and thousands of miles away. This kind of community is something of great sacredness and holiness. Well, at least to me. I think of Jesus and when the disciples seemed to have the deepest, sometimes hardest truths of God. Some were in public sermons Jesus preached. But, it seems to me, that most of those times were sitting around a table, resting after a hike, gathered around a fire on the beach, in a garden, lingering just a little while longer with each other.

Communities aren’t developed or made when people are busily buzzing from one place to another. They are created in times of great patience, great graciousness given to each other mutually. A few years ago, I was struggling hard with trying to ascertain where it was that God may have been leading us as a family. We knew we were leaving one city, and perhaps a country to move somewhere else, but didn’t know where. I was frustrated, angry, hurting and wanting answers so I would feel stable. But I’ve talked about stability before in a few places.

In a group made up of some of the best leaders in the Church in the States and Canada, we went around sharing what God had said to us during this, one of 4 two week long residentials we would spend together over the course of two years. I had been struggling with not knowing where God wanted us…my first ever Dark Night of the Soul. With tears filling my eyes (not entirely uncommon for me), I yelled “I know what God has for us 20 years from now. But, as to our next steps….I don’t know. I ask, and I hear nothing. I seek and haven’t found anything. I just want Him to show me my next footprint damn it! I just want Him to show me what is next and tell me what the hell is going on!”

My community simply sat, in sacred holy silence watching as God did work in my life. No cliches, no comforting words (though those who speak them usually are only trying to comfort the person uncomfortable with silence, not the one who is hurting). And it was this same community that I would sit with again, six month later in the same circle, thanking them for allowing God to work, sharing with them about where we knew God was leading us. Had I been fluttering instead of lingering, I may not be where I am today. I may not be the person I am today. I pray that we stop the busyness of buzzing around from thing to thing, group to group, person to person and …just………linger. Linger with a few. Linger and lounge and converse and sit with people who are being honest and raw. Those who give life. In community.

be blessed today

Have you found yourself to flutter around? Have you gotten out of that demand of the world? Have you found community? And do you linger in it’s life givingness?

 

photo credit: http://oddnygumaer.com/2014/10/

Is There Space In Your Living Room?

Ah, a new year. It seems every time we hit the third or fourth of January, Christmas is a distant memory, the festivities of New Year’s are mostly forgotten and it’s back to the normal ordinary life we lived up until the 22 or 23rd of December. We’re back to the relentless political mud slinging. The continuation of security threats and endless terrorist/media laden fear that seemed to control us before, is back as I sit and read my news feed everyday.

So, what awaits us? It looks like increased national security in many countries. Deeper, thicker and more entrenched political lines become, even within the Church. More on going wars, and, sadly, more fear. Fear is a powerful motivator. Giving into fear has caused for some massive changes and reforms in my home country, the United States, and has caused many walls and barriers to be constructed in the hearts and minds of those within the Church.

Growing up (and maybe it’s still the trend) there were several people I knew that had a “formal” living room and a “family room” living room. As I got older and eventually became a pastor, when I went to someone’s house, I noticed I was going to less of the family room  and staying more in the tidier, perhaps more uninviting formal living room. It was a weird shift for me, unless of course they were close friends where we would hang out in the family room.

I also remember watching old movies. When people would come to visit, the women, it seemed, would go to have tea while the men would go to the den. The den was an incredible place with a selection of strong drinks in an antique globe, oaken bookshelves lined the walls while the other walls had trophies from various hunts around the world. Pipes in hand with their smoking jackets on, they would sit on big, overstuffed leather couches  surrounding a grand fireplace. I used to dream (and still do) of having a room like that-comfy, inviting, a place I could linger for a while with a book or in deep conversation.

Henri Nouwen described “hospitality of heart” with the picture that our hearts are a living room. A place that is to be hospitable, welcoming, comfortable. A place that is set up in such a way that others want to come, converse, linger with us. John wrote in Revelation 3:20 “Behold, I (God) stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me” (ESV). Nouwen describes in his book “Reaching Out: Three Movements of the Spiritual Life,” that Jesus is standing at the door to our hearts. That He desires we invite Him in, welcome Him, dine with Him…linger while He is with us. Nouwen goes onto describe that our hearts need to be hospitable places, places where we meet others, invite them…a place where they can meet Jesus and experience Him. A family room, not a formal living room.

What an incredible picture. My heart, my living room, is a place where I cannot only invite Jesus into but others as well. My heart can be a place where others can meet Him for the first time or perhaps engage Him on a level never yet before. All because I am hospitable…because I have made a place for Christ.

In the fear that seems to surround us, I wonder if we have made space in our living room for Christ? I wonder if our doors are so bolted and locked out of fear of what lies on the other side, that we dare not open it up for Christ, let alone anyone else? Be it a refugee from another land or a longtime neighbor who simply doesn’t even know they are lost- are our hearts a welcoming, inviting place that is comfortable enough for people to desire to come in… to linger?

My prayer is that this new year our hearts would be full of people engaging Christ in the ways they need in our hearts as we make room for them. My prayer for all of us is that we are allowing them in, risking potential heart break, for the grace and peace of Christ. to make space in the living room for the unexpected encounter with Christ.

Peace and Blessings to you this 2016.

What are your thoughts on the living room of  your heart? Have you experienced letting others in and them finding Christ within your heart? Have you experienced shutting out others as a result of fear? How did you reconcile through that? Sharing each others victories and struggles  allows us all to grow together. I’d love to hear your story.