Naked Friendship

Every one of us has a secret. It is the secret that sits in the back of our minds that we are sure will be found out. It is the thing that haunts us. The thing that we know for certainty will lead to relational disconnection.  It is the secret that holds our unacceptability.

In my life I hear secrets almost every day. I hear the secrets of the broken hearted. I hear the secret of the abuse victim. I hear the secrets of the successful and the secrets of the captive. I hear the secrets of those who struggle with matters of sexuality, faith, belief and unbelief. Every secret told, is told with a wince… will you still love me, will we still be connected when I tell you my secret?

The ironic thing about our secrets is that though they are unique to each individual, there is nothing unique about their message. For every person, holding a secret, the message is that this secret is the key to retaining my value, my relationships, my reputation, and my love.

This is not uncommon, in fact King David of ancient Israel knew a thing or two about secrets. In his poem found in Psalm 32 he writes: When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity, I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.” and you forgave the guilt of my sin…

Though David was talking about confessing sin, he caught the essence of what happens when secrets are held. A secret winds its way into our core and there it begins to rot away that which is good and true and replaces it with lies. Our secrets are like a cancer eating away at life. Though we believe the exact opposite. Some how, we’ve convinced ourselves that as long as we hide, we’ll know love.

Reflecting on Robin Williams’ death and the fact that his secret led him to escape life, evokes in me a strong desire for every one of us to have a place to tell our secrets. I desire for each and every one of us to have a place where we are free, with our secrets and are met with life, love and relationship. It is my desire that whether it is sadness or success that there is not one person who feels as though their secret is too much for another to hear and be with.

Scripture is filled with encouragement to share life with others. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, tow can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not easily broken.

Paul writes in Romans 12: 10-15 says Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you, bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.

Jesus sent his disciples out in pairs.

Pages of story set in the canvas of relationship; first relationship to God and secondly relationship with one another. It is in relationship, true, pure, unhidden, no secrets kept relationship that we are able to know how to once again be naked an unashamed.

May your secrets be told to a trusted friend.

May your life know the connection found in naked friendship.

May you know that there is absolutely no secret that can make Jesus love you more or less. For you are His and HE knows your secret and cries, rejoices with and loves you.

Breathe out your secrets. Come out of hiding. Rid yourself of the cancer found in silence and be free.

Lessons learned from 25 years of friendship

photoToday I was able to spend time with a good friend. Because she lives in Orange County, CA and I live in Denver, CO we don’t get to see each other as much as we’d like. We’ve now been friends for over half of our lives. We met on a Sunday morning as we were both being initiated into the 9th grade at Mission Hills Church. It was my first Sunday and by her initiation gift I knew quickly it was not hers.

Trisha was given a youth group phone book with all of the guys phone numbers highlighted in it. I can’t remember what was said, I just remember thinking that this girl was someone I wanted to know. Maybe I just wanted to get the guys’ numbers from her? Who knows… I was given a hanger and Jim, our youth pastor, said, “I hope you hang around.” We’ve been good friends ever since.

Today she pulled out a clear box filled with keepsakes from our high school years. Together we riffled through the contents of the box. We laughed at our hair styles and the clothes we wore. We laughed at my changing hair color and we laughed at memories filled with such good.

Trisha, our friend Kim and I have years of memories under our belts. It is a gift.

Today, as I reflect on my time with Trish and the relationship we’ve had for nearly 25 years I’m so thankful. I’ve learned a lot about friendship through the years of relationship with her. I thought I’d take some time to share a few thoughts on friendship that I’ve learned through my relationship with her.

1. It’s important to show up. Even when there is hurt or neglect, when a friend who is dear to you is hurting you show up. And showing up, changes things.

2. Sometimes your friend needs hours of talking time. Sometimes you do. Let it be what it is. Equality is a life long process not a moment by moment interaction.

3. Laughter is crucial.

4. Honesty is paramount. When there is hurt, talk about it. When there is jealously, confess it. When there is good, shout it. When there is mourning, mourn. When one longs and the other receives, long and rejoice alongside.

5. When you need a certain response from your friend, tell her what you need before you share. It helps. I tend to challenge and invite people to step into the difficult and look for good. One time, Trisha was sharing something painful in life and told me before she even started to share her story that she simply needed me to listen and to feel with her. This completely changed my response and I was so grateful I could give her what she needed, because I knew what she needed.

6. When it counts, always show up, call back and respond.

7. It’s okay to not call or text back or Facebook, or Voxer, or …. sometimes our friends just need to be remembered and it’s okay to just remember them without expectation of hearing anything in return.

8. Hair styles are an important topic of conversation.

9. As are the Grammy’s, the Oscars, the latest hit song, the best and worst dressed and the most recent Youtube sensation. Conversations do not have to be profound, to actually be profound.

10. Give permission to cry, be emotionally messy and sensitive for long periods of time. The arch of one’s life is much bigger than the 6 months or a year of difficulty one might be facing.

11. Never tire of hearing the unmet longings of your friend AND Never let your friend wallow for too long. Listen and invite.

12. Sharpen each other. Don’t be afraid to speak honestly. When your friend asks for your opinion… give it to them honestly, without filters. Speak the truth of the heart.

13. Celebrating is important. Remembering your friend’s spouse and children is a form of remembering and celebrating your friend.

14. Believe in your friend. Believe with your friend. Believe in your friendship.

15. Trust is crucial. Assume the best of your friends. She may forget things or not show up, or not respond how you’d like… extend grace, seek to understand and trust that she loves you.

16. Don’t share the nitty gritty on your blog about your friend… some memories are meant to be shared simply between the two of you.

There it is. A short list of things I’ve learned about friendship from 25 years of friendship with Trisha Lee. As I type, memories and lessons play through my mind as if I were watching a slideshow. Each scene a memory. Each memory a gift. Each gift a lesson. Friends really do add to the palette of life’s color. There are many others I could write this about, but today I am particularly thankful for the color Trish has added to mine.

OH and one more:

17. Never stop being grateful for the gift of relationship with another. No matter how short or long the relationship lasts, it shapes, colors and adds to you. When lives touch, lives change.

As you finish reading this list, who is one person in your life who has added color to your life? What have you learned through your relationship with him or her? Take the time right now, to reach out. Send a card, text, Facebook post, blog, email, skywriting or pigeon carrier and say thank you for the lessons learned. And, take time to share in the comments one thing you’ve learned about friendship through your friends.

Chasing Tails

DSC01055The days go by melding together forming a picture I can’t quite make out.

The same gentle breeze blows as I write. The same sea beckons me. The same peace falls over me. The same faces greet me each morning. The same faces of locals fill my time.

It is good.

I continue to eat differently. I continue to move more. I continue to wonder about my life here and why I’m here for these two months and how this will all play a part in my life’s story in the future. I continue to wonder what metaphor I’m living in, that I’ll need to draw upon for later teaching, growing and living. I continue to wonder what life will look like when I return.

I’m not anxious here.

At home, I can struggle with anxiety. Is my life making a difference? When will I have a home I can call my own? Will I every marry? Will I have children? Will I finally get that book written? Why hasn’t this or that happened? Why do I struggle with envy? The questions go on and on and I, like a dog chasing it’s tail, chase after these questions and answers in a non-stop continuous motion.

My days are not filled with questions in Spain. My days are filled with enjoying the present. Living in this moment. Soaking in the new and walking in it. There is a slow pace to life in Altea. I know that if I were in Barcelona or Madrid my experience would be somewhat different, but here in Altea, things are slow. People enjoy each other. People live simply, running a small business or having an artisan booth for a few months a year satisfies.  Some of this simplicity, is because jobs are scarce. And I think, some of the simplicity comes from a different set of cultural values. (This makes me think I should ask some of my friends who are locals, what their culture values, instead of me assuming from three weeks of observations.)

From what I’ve observed and from a few facts I’ve come to know, people here love being with friends and they love eating. Over a 1/3 of one’s budget goes towards eating out. American’s spend that much on housing. Here, having a large space is not important as people rarely invite others over.  But, you will find people in cafe’s and bars and restaurants at every hour (with exception of siesta). I actually think I fit this way of living. It is not a shock to my system to sit and listen to other’s stories and share in life with others relationally for hours at a time.

But, at home, there is a running dialogue about how that isn’t enough. There is seemingly, always more to be done and one is evaluated not by who they are as a person, but by what they accomplish. This is dangerous!

I think of people I know who do not know how to linger in conversation. People who feel unproductive if they didn’t accomplish a huge list of to dos. People who rarely act as though they know peace, because they can not stop chasing their metaphorical tails.

I haven’t chased tails here.

When I’ve been tempted to worry about things when I return, I stop myself, confess my worry, confess my temporary belief that God will not have good for me and then dive back into the practice of being present with people and being present with self.

The students are all on a hike today. I chose to stay back because I needed a few hours alone. It’s been good for me. They’ll come back with tales of jumping off of rocks into the sea, the time they each spent with the Lord along the way, the conversations they had, and I’ll happily greet them like a mother welcoming her children home from day camp.

Tonight we are hosting a beach fiesta and night swim. There will be food and blankets and the beach and the sea! What more can one want? It will be good to be with the students and to enjoy being with those we’ve met along the way.

What tail are you chasing? How does it keep you from being present?

 

 

A place where everybody knows your name

DSC01009Saturday suddenly was here without a warning. The week has gone by so quickly I can hardly keep my days straight. Ariana and Xara had a wedding and a few other appointments on this day so I knew I’d have the day to myself. Instead of loneliness I was overcome with a sense of adventure, curiosity and playfulness. I got up, dressed and decided I would scout out the town and see what I could see.

Armed with my camera and my wallet I set out to explore Altea. I walked down the stairs to our beachside home and opened the door onto the main street. I turned left, crossed the street and stepped on the the olive grove. I took a few pictures, as I like to pretend I’m a photo journalist any time I get a camera in my hands. The world becomes art and it is mine to capture it. It’s funny there are things I see when I hold a camera that I would not see if I were simply walking around. (I like having a camera on my phone as it gives me this incentive to see the world as art with a desire to capture every moment of beauty.)

I had met a local artist whose sister owned a shop right off the olive grove. I stepped into the shop and was fascinated by everything I saw. She had very good taste and her store was filled with delicate beauty. Necklaces, earrings, purses, and the like filled the shop with colors and shapes that were unique and not over stated. I was able to speak just a bit with her. I knew just enough to tell her I thought her inventory was beautiful.

My curiosity kept me moving on. I passed by a bakery, the widows were filled with the most delectable of treats. Croissants, chocolate, and many unfamiliar delights beckoned on lookers. I watched as small children and adults alike closed their eyes, breathed in and took their first bite of their morning treats. I kept walking.

Next I walked down a main street filled with every kind of store imaginable. The stores are small and particular. One wouldn’t find a Target type store here. But the entire street felt much like a Target divided into small stores. So much life at every turn. Old and young alike filled the streets. Some were bustling along as though their agenda for the morning was quite full. Others sat and lingered enjoying being in the company of friends and family. It was a perfect picture of Saturday life; errands, fun, relationship, food, tears of small children as their mothers dragged them from store to store. Nothing was unfamiliar but everything was new. I smiled as I walked and watched.

Just about half way down the street I looked ahead and to my surprise I saw three people I knew walking towards me. Gloria, whose birthday I had celebrated the night before and the two youngest boys at the party were walking towards me. My Spanish teacher, smiled when he saw me. He pointed to his hair, I very quickly said, “pelo”. He nodded with satisfaction. We kept walking and he lifted his leg and made a burst of a sound from his mouth, I laughed out loud and said, “pedo!” We smiled and waved goodbye. I had passed my test. And I felt like a local. I had friends in this place  I had only been for four days.

I walked up the stairs to Old Town. It was not as busy here. The plaza was full of trucks and people setting up for the first night of the summer artist market. People were working hard to get ready for the evening. I felt a little in the way as people were very focused with their tasks. I then saw another friend I had made in my short first days. He is a local artist, he is bald, a little scruffy, has many tattoos, gauged ears and very distinct features. I find him intriguing and slightly curious. We greeted each other. I think we both were excited to see someone that we knew. (Ok, maybe I was just excited because I knew someone.) Our greeting was quick as he had much work to do to set up for the evening.

The artists make nearly all of their money in the short months of the summer market. During the months of July, August, September and October the upper plaza by the old church is filled with artisans on weekend evenings. At the peak of tourist season this is a good move and it adds to the unique artist flare I’ve come to love here.

I kept walking. I stepped into the church, a nun greeted me with a smile and pointed to a small box to place donations. She was very persuasive, even without my understanding, so I placed a euro in the box. The church was ornate and there was a sadness there. I was struck by that feeling as I stood in wonder at the gold trim and detailed paintings covering the canvas of the walls and ceilings. The stations of the cross were found on the pillars of the large room. I was struck by how cartoon like Jesus looked. He did not look like the Jesus presented in the grand cathedrals of Italy, but he didn’t capture me. He was pasty and almost lifeless. I think Jesus had life in his eyes even when he was suffering. These paintings did not do him any justice.

Up and down narrow cobblestone streets I made my way like a mouse in a maze. I looked around as a child at Disneyland for the first time. Every sight was new and yet familiar. I made up my mind to get back home before it was too late to enjoy the sun, so I traveled back down the stairs to my home on the beach. I am confident here. I am confident in my ability to get around, to enjoy the new and familiar.

I spent the next few hours in the sun interspersed with moments of cleaning and hanging the laundry out to dry. (Confession: I become a little giddy every time I hang something on the line to dry. It is as though I’m playing a role in a movie and am truly entering into my character.) I read, did some writing and breathed in the air of another lovely day on the Mediterranean.

It was now 8pm and I knew I wanted to go out. I showered and did my hair and put on a dress (I’ve worn a dress every day I’ve been here. I feel feminine and free. Many of the women here live in dresses. I’ll be writing more about my observations on uniquenesses of women and men in blogs to come.)

1001495_10152950892500004_2144905665_nNow dressed and ready I stepped out once again on my own. Unlike Wednesday where being alone brought up feelings of loneliness, today my being alone conjured up feelings of adventure. I headed back up the steps into Old Town. I got up the main steps and turned to the right as the road divides in two directions. I was going to head straight but saw a young toe headed child had dropped his yoyo from the plaza above. His sister was laughing and pointing and his eyes were filled with sadness. I walked over and picked up his yoyo. I showed him that I had it and he looked at me inquisitively. Was I going to keep it? Was I going to bring it to him? What was to come of his toy? I imagine these questions swirled in him mind. I walked out of sight and eventually turned the corner and entered the plaza where the young boy was trying to wiggle his way out of a family picture. When he saw me he smiled and hesitantly approached me. I reached out my hand and opened it unveiling his beloved toy. He squealed with delight. His father made sure he thanked me and he did.

Once our greetings were finished I continued to walk up the second set of steps onto the plaza where artisans had now filled the outlining spaces. I saw my friend again, this time he was accompanied by his girlfriend whom I also had met. I was happy to see her. They showed me their work and I was in awe. The jewelry I had seen earlier at the shop and loved, was his! His work was fine and detailed and feminine and lovely and beautiful. I touched it all and wanted to buy everything! Tonight I resisted. But I know I will purchase something before I leave.

I walked to each booth, looking at the result of each persons imagination and craft. The creativity amazes me. Art reminds me that we come from and were designed by a master Creator. The Creator Premier! I thought of my tattoo of a paintbrush and smiled as I too get to share in creation.

After perusing the booths I made my way down a side street where I entered a dress shop. The colors and patters were bold and bright. I found a dress that I thought was my kind of bold and I made the purchase. Again, feeling like a character in a movie I used my three year old Spanish with a little more confidence. The dress was exactly what I had been looking for.

(Women wear a lot of dresses here. They are feminine without being overdone and they are strong and confident and in touch with themselves. I’ve loved observing them. I feel as though we women from the states have so much to learn about true femininity. Its a beautifully powerful thing.)

After my purchase and my newly found confidence in my ability to speak Spanish I went back to a local cafe where I had met the owners with Ariana my first night out on the town. I easily found the location and as I turned the corner I met eyes with the owner whom I had met two days earlier. He greeted me as though I were a friend and we chatted a bit. I stepped inside of the cafe and sat down. I don’t normally go out to eat or drink alone, so this was a whole new experience. Sarah, who is co-owener of the cafe with her husband, assured me it is custom and very normal for people to eat or drink alone in Spain, as they will not be alone for very long. This was true. I was not alone very long.

I talked with a few locals, had the best mojito I’ve had, hands down and observed as people came and went. In the states we are enamored with the idea of the show “Cheers” a place where everybody knows your name. Her in Altea, it’s a normal part of life. People are genuinely interested in you and desire to be in relationship with you. This kind of warmth is inspiring and I pray that I will be the kind of person who treats others with this much investment from the get go.

I lingered at the counter for a few hours and then decided I wanted to head back home. I paid up, gathered my things and made the walk back to the Casa. I think I may have smiled the entire way. I had put on the character of a Spanish woman and I think I may have just pulled it off. I was free. I was confident. I was strong. I was vivacious.

The funny thing is, I didn’t need to be a character to play this role. I am these things. In the days leading up to this trip I have walked with a light step and a renewed spirit. Spain, it turns out, is a great place to put all of this new into practice.

What kind of character do you imagine yourself being? Who do you want to be? Tomorrow, goodness… today! choose to be the best version of you possible. Wear yourself well and be free. May you find your own Spain… that you can practice being you!

Loneliness and traveling

946523_10152941580870004_2120307944_nToday I was alone most of the day. I sat out on the terrace and wrote. I managed to talk with a friend from the states and caught up on some emailing. The overwhelming feeling of the day was not joy or curiosity, but loneliness. The two women here with whom I’ll be co-leading were out all day and I was here, by my self, all day.

The first night was filled with so much adventure and now here I was in this beautiful place, surrounded by so much good and yet all I could feel was that I was alone.

Just about the time tears were coming I received an email from a friend who had traveled much of last year. Her words to me were timely and prophetic. She spoke about being present here in Spain and not to long for things back in the states. I wrote her immediately and told her these words were good for me because I was feeling lonely. She wrote again telling me that lonely is a part of it and to lean into the loneliness and explore what lies there.

So I decided that sitting around the house was not a good way to dive into the loneliness and I put on my walking shoes and walked about 14klm along the sea. The number of cultures that collide in this one tiny town is astounding actually. I heard so many languages. I saw so many varied bathing suits, some I’d like to forget, and watched as old and young played in one space. I’ve rarely experienced such diversity in one place. I had made up my mind to walk until the paseo ended and as I reached the end, was so struck by all who were gathered there.

I made my way home, having leaned into my loneliness and having worked up some endorphins, and felt ready to approach the remainder of my day. It was going to be good.

(I think in our own contexts we know how to avoid feelings we’d rather not experience. I know at times I do. So, just like I want to dive in and experience all that Spain has to offer, I too want to explore all that might be awaiting for me personally in the adventure. Perhaps the loneliness is very good for me? Perhaps the loneliness is my teacher of things I long for and fear? Perhaps I’ll feel lonely a lot? There is a lot of lonely when one is in a country where the language is not understood and where one constantly has to choose to engage from the outside. How do we actually work to include those around us who are different? How do I keep people on the outskirts by my language? These ideas continue to come up and sift through my mind as though they too are my teacher. )

I came home from my long walk on the beach and got ready for an evening out. Ariana had returned from her meetings and we had dinner plans at a pizza place near by. Ariana is gluten free and finding places that serve “sin gluten” can be difficult. She had talked this particular restaurant into making gluten free pizza with flour she provided. This night they were going to try it for the first time and we were going to eat it. Watching Ariana with the Spaniards reminds me of what it must be like to go places with me in the states. Somehow she knows everyone and has no fear when it comes to making friends with the locals. (I still believe that most people want new friends and want to be noticed and are simply a question or two away from becoming such, no matter in what culture one lives.)

I was able to order in Spanish, which made me very happy. Though I’m sure I sounded like a three year old, I was using words and forming thoughts to communicate, albeit broken. I felt quite content with myself as I sat down and exactly what I wanted showed up at the table a few minutes later.

Ariana and I had a lovely conversation as we sat out in the middle of the paseo. (The restaurants along the paseo line the walkway furthest from the shore. Most have seating inside and all have seating outside. Depending on the space and the bike path which runs alongside the restaurants, some have seating up against their shop and others have seating in the middle of the paseo, going in order shop, bike path, seating, walking path, shore line. It’s actually quite lovely.)

When sitting in the middle of the paseo, I feel as though I’m a part of everything up close and personal. I like being in the middle of everything. I like having life happen all around on every side. I can feel lonely in that place. Life everywhere and me simply observing it. But at this particular time, I did not feel lonely as much as I felt an invitation to risk in conversation. Was I going to tell Ariana that I was lonely all day? I had felt foolish for even feeling lonely. It was only my second day, how was loneliness so prevalent?

I decided to risk and share of my day and my fears and my thoughts. It was good for me. I breathed in the air of the sea and breathed out the internal dialogue of my mind.

Traveling is good. It is a lonely good. The lonely is a part of it. The lonely speaks to what is unseen and often ignored in the busy of life. I think I will feel alone often. I think this will be good for me.

Shared Space: Elizabeth Hunnicutt

elizabeth

I’m excited again to share a friend with you!

A few years ago I was visiting a church where several friends attend and lead in Walnut Creek, CA, Open Door. (Open Door is a community of sojourners walking in the Way of Jesus for the good of the world. I am always so encouraged when I get to gather together with these friends.) I was prepared to enter into a time of musical worship, when a new lead worshipper took her place. She led with intension, purpose and wisdom. Each song spoke hope, healing, wisdom and identity over the people gathered. Each song magnified and gave glory to God. I was moved in a way that I’d not experienced for quite some time.

After the service ended I went up and introduced myself. Something in me knew our stories were to be connected in some way. Elizabeth, as I came to know, and I headed out for coffee that following week. We instantly connected over our love for people, music, and our desire for others to know and be encouraged by Jesus. She is a deep soul, who’s love for Jesus oozes through her. She has a unique gifting, very pastoral and prophetic as she leads.

Since our first meeting Elizabeth and I have ended up leading retreats together or she had led worship in services where I’ve been speaking. Every time I am moved by her leadership and wisdom.

Her music is pastoral, prophetic and addresses with honesty a longing for God and a longing for justice. As you walk through deserts, valleys, or venture to mountain tops, Elizabeth’s music would be a good companion. Her latest album speaks raw truth as she enters into the pain and longings experienced in life. She painfully sings the story of young children trapped in the slave trade. Her lyrics speak prophetically as God strengthens us in our times of trial. Not only does she sing with conviction, her life mirrors what she sings. Elizabeth is involved in giving time to issues about which she is passionate!

Today I encourage you to check her out. Her latest album, Undone, is available for only $5. You can check it out here! Take some time to leave a comment to encourage her. Leave a comment to share a prayer for her. Take some time to speak life into one, who uses her life to speak into the lives of others!

It takes a village to raise an adult

itTakesaVillageMy personal learning curve is pretty high these days. It seems that the more life throws at me, the  more I am having to engage parts of my heart and mind and soul that have remained untouched for some time. Today I had a conversation with a friend who is full of beauty and grace. She is a friend who is simultaneously deeply profound and fully accessible. I left the conversation full, encouraged, empowered, and thankful to have a friend like her in my village.

I remember years ago Hillary Clinton made popular a saying that’d been around for awhile, “it takes a village.” This saying was contextualized to refer to the raising of children and how it takes multiple people. I have come to know that it takes a village for all of us.

I know I need a village. I need someone who is a good listener. I need a question asker. I need the skeptic and the feeler. I need a co-dreamer, a dream framer, a filter, a provider, and a kleenex holder. I need someone to listen to my ideas and cheer me on. And, I need the person to listen to my ideas and ask questions to reframe, help me keep from jumping into yet another project or ask how the new idea fits into the vision I talked about the day before.

I have a friend who is over the top organized. It takes her 15 minutes to do what it would take me 2 hours. I used to beat myself up for not being able to be organized in such a manner, now I am thankful that I know someone who I can invite into my life who is willing to give her gift of organization to me.

I have a friend who jumps on every dream and idea I have like it’s the best things she’s ever heard. Sometimes I need friends like this and she fills my love tank.

I have a friend who asks profound framing questions. He will listen over time and give honest feed back from his perspective and challenge and speak truth as needed.

I have a friend who immediately prays when I call, another who reads everything I every write, another who is generous and another who challenges me to work out.

(I told you. I need a village.)

The thing is, the list I could create of individuals who help me navigate life with health and wholeness could well exceed your level of patience. And, in full honesty even admitting that I have and need a village prompts feelings of vulnerability and insecurity. I just thought to myself, “wait make sure those who read this know you’re resourceful, capable, and can do things on your own too!” How deep the lie is that we are to be perfect at everything on our own. So today I’m coming out. Today I come out as person who needs people… and I need a lot of them.

Though culturally this idea is not celebrated in practice, I believe deeply that we were created to need others. We were created this way with great intension. When Paul, a follower of the way of Jesus, wrote about how the collective of followers of Jesus best functions, he mentioned how every person has a role to play and that every role is crucial. Each role plays a part that the others need. Somehow I think we’ve lost the importance of that concept or we only apply it to local church expressions rather than the every day interactions with the collective whole of followers. All of us, everywhere, need people. We need others who have gifts we do not. We need others who celebrate us. We need others to join us. We need a village.

Do you have a village? If so take some time to thank them. If you don’t, ask yourself what keeps you from recognizing you need others in your life. Then ask yourself where you have deficits and seek others to be in that space with you.