Day 6…

One of the things I’ve noticed since moving to TX is how people “do church” here. Church in the bible belt is much more cultural and/or obligatory and a lot less about a person having a growing, deepening, personal relationship with God.

In the last couple of months, I’ve talked to other people, from other areas, who also noticed the same thing. And, to make me feel like it’s truly legit, my pastor talked about it during his sermon yesterday. Finally, I feel like my theory is supported and has some footing.

All of that doesn’t have anything to do with today’s post, but I think that it’s important to point out how I’m not crazy from time to time. 😉

Five ways to win my heart.

Winning my heart is tricky business. I love really big and I can accept love pretty well, mostly. But, if we get into that whole romantic love thing… well, I’m pretty guarded and messy there. I’m healed. I’m whole. I’m careful.

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So, let’s talk about other ways to win my heart and not about “oh, baby, I want to marry you” kinda ways, mkay?

 

 

Coffee, as soon as my eyes pop open – that wins my heart. Well, until I get married… let’s be real, shall we? There just might be something else that pops my eyes open in the morning once I have my hunka man… buuuuut until then – coffee.

Man on man love. I love me a good bromance. When I see men encouraging one another, praying for one another, and supporting one another – all my “I wanna have his baby” sirens start to go off. Mind you, I’m not having anyone’s babies, but the sirens still work, amen? Yes.

Cannolis… let’s just keep things nice and simple. If you wanna win my heart, bring me a cannoli. I didn’t get this voluptuous frame by eating salads all day… 😉

Ridiculous kindness. Like really, we can never overdo it on the kindness front. We need to pour it out of our pores like it’s the most natural thing we’ve ever done. We should be, literally, tripping over one another to beat the other one to the task. Think of a world where people are fighting about who gets to do the next kind thing. That’s my kinda world.

Acceptance… I have fought long, hard, and dirty for the woman I am today. I will accept nothing other than someone who can take me at face value. I can be a crazy, silly nutball or I can be a deep thinking lover, and everything in between. You can challenge me to be a better version of myself, but you must accept who I am today – with all of my wacky-do doodles.

Tell me about things that would win your heart!

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We all need people…

82b7e60e9b1ad83d0b2776295d311fb8If you know me personally or have spent much time with me online through social media, you know that I’m a professional retreater. I’ve written about it and my desire to get over it time and again. I’ve gotten very used to pulling into myself when I’m mad, sad, frustrated, disappointed, etc… I have little desire to talk about whatever’s bothering me until I’ve had time to get really real with God about it and to get over it myself. Then I’m happy to talk about it; mostly.

I talk about the importance of community all the time, to all the people. And yet… I heed not my own advice. It means visibly displaying weakness, disclosing my mistakes for others to see and judge, preparing myself to defend my actions or inactions. No thanks.. let me lick my wounds, make confessions to God, share with someone in my inner circle if I need another voice to help me. I know this goes against everything I say, advise, and talk about.. but… well, this is my continual hope to come clean and to be a better person.

Today at church, the message, in part, was about how we need community. It was really about Lazarus and raising him from the dead… but one point that I kept being drawn to over and over is that when Lazarus was called out of the tomb by Jesus he was bound tightly in burial linens, even his face was covered. Jesus instructed Mary and Martha to unbind him and to let him loose. Lazarus wasn’t able to unbind himself – he needed Mary and Martha to help him be free. He needed his community to unwrap him.

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Friends, we can’t unwrap ourselves. We can’t get free all alone. We need to invite people into our spaces and places, giving them permission to help us unwrap ourselves. God will continually bring people to help us walk in freedom as long as we keep seeking Him. We have to trust and have faith that the way He answers our prayers and cries to Him is the best for us and for us to see His glory working out right before our eyes. Either we trust that He’s faithful or we don’t.

If you don’t feel like you have a community, I encourage you to find one.

Now.

Immediately.

God does not have any of us walking this journey alone. If we’re alone, it’s because we’re not being obedient.

Find your tribe.

 

 

Removing Fences

As I was driving home from the grocery store today, I passed through one of the more affluent areas on the way to my apartment – far on the other side of the tracks. =]

I do appreciate beautiful homes with landscaping perfected for magazine covers. Some of these communities had brilliant water features with small ponds and lakes. When I was younger, my mom and I would wander through model homes just to marvel at how lovely they were; the floor plans, the kitchens, the bathrooms, etc…

But today, I saw something a little different. I saw barriers and fences. I saw restrictions and cages. I saw separation and exclusiveness.

The communities I drove by today were all gated. Access code needed. In other words, I wasn’t welcome there. Of course, I didn’t try, but even if I wanted to, I wouldn’t be able to – unless, of course, I was given an invite from a specific person inside the community.

There was suddenly a separation. A me and them. A low people and a high people. A division in classes. It’s always been there, I know… but today I just saw it differently. It was eye-opening. Heart-opening.

I was suddenly aware about how we do this. How Christians do this. How we create a me and a them. A low people and a high people. The houses and the people who live in them didn’t make me sad, I was sad about us as people. As Christ lovers and followers. How many fences and barriers have we put up to keep out the riff raff? How many people feel like they can only approach us with a personal invite? How many people feel incapable to come to us because they fear judgement, harshness, and condemnation?

We are called to foster love, peace, kindness, forgiveness, on and on. And on and on. I wanna be a woman who envelopes the lost, who helps others find freedom, and who is always inclusive. I wanna be a woman who is approachable, unrestricted, and without fences of separation.

That’s what we’re called to do and be. It isn’t always easy. We find comfort in our safe places and in our comfort zones. Gosh, I feel like I know this so much more now after being recently uprooted from my own safe, comfort zone. It’s important to be and stay in community with one another. Yes! We are critical to each other’s growth and we nurture one another. But it can’t stop there.

Can we examine our fences? Can we double check our invites and make sure they aren’t exclusive, but rather inclusive. Let’s gather with people on both sides of the fences. The mes and the thems. Let’s have communities with less separation and more invitation.