Tuesday, November 10, 2015

if you want to talk about something more important than starbucks cups

As we talked, I cried right into my cobb salad.  Right there next to the glassed-in play area where the kids were squealing and laughing and running wild, I let the tears run too.

It's not the first time I've been a blubbering mess in Chick-fil-a and it probably won't be the last.  When you are a mama of little ones you connect with people whenever and wherever you can.

I have a new friend and I love her already.  God does that, you know?  Offers instant love and connection between people.  Some relationships take years to cultivate and others happen in a moment.

I live for those moments.

More and more I am finding instant friends - not because I'm such a good friend myself but because I've lived enough life now to know that all of our experiences on this Earth are rooted in similar places.  I like to get right to those places with people.  I don't have a lot of time for talking about the weather or what type of cups Starbucks is offering these days.  I just go right ahead and get awkward and deep because at any moment my kids could have a meltdown and the conversation could be over.

When our conversations get down deep enough we find that our roots are entangled with one another and together we are all reaching down, searching for nourishment.  Finding other roots to wrap yourself around is a comfort.  The deeper we go together, the richer the soil we are planted in.

When she said she needed a place to fall apart I knew what she meant.  Chick-fil-a was just as good a place as any.  We hide behind masks of 'fine' not because we want to be fake but because we want to be safe.  Eventually being free is more important than being safe and that's when we start falling.

All over the world there are people whose souls are disintegrating on the inside while they maintain a solid appearance on the outside - no cracks.  When it all finally breaks - when we finally break - something comes flooding out that we weren't expecting...

That day, over waffle fries and cobb salads, we were bathed in light.  It was a beautiful thing.

If there is a burning within our souls it is because the light within us has been contained too long.  The cracks - the broken places - allow the light to spill out.  Amazingly people are so blinded by that light they can barely see our cracks at all.  What we thought would stain and scar us actually pours out breathtakingly beautiful.

She told me she has trouble being transparent.
I know.  I did too.
Until I broke.

Then, slowly, I began to embrace transparency.

The thing about anything that is transparent is that it allows you to see what is on the other side.  It's why I am drawn to the bare branch trees of winter and people who bare their souls.  True beauty is not blocked by people who are transparent, it is magnified; because true beauty doesn't begin with us - it begins with God.  We are just a lens through which the world sees it.  The light always begins with Him.

Sometimes we get so busy living out our life's purpose, going through the motions, giving our everything for the greater good, that we leave no room for the breaking open.

Let me put it to you plainly -
I must have a regular time for being vulnerable in God's presence.
I must make room for Him.
I must allow the dark ugly pieces of my self and my story to lay side by side with the bright hope and truth of the gospel.
All my working and serving and giving is worthless without that.

I can't make a monthly appointment or even a weekly one to reset and refresh myself.  It must be daily.  I can't wait until I hit a wall to stop and surrender, I must discipline myself to stop and surrender every day so that I don't hit the wall {or at least not quite so hard}.  And believe me when I say - it is a discipline.  There has never been a day that this girl sprung out of bed before 7am.

Some days I try to tiptoe around topics and take your hand gently and lead you to a place where I hope you will discover answers.  Today is not one of those days.  Today I am feeling too urgent about this matter - that your soul really does matter.  And it won't take care of itself.  We must take responsibility.

I used to set goals and make plans for how I would grow spiritually.
It never worked out like I planned.
Now I just set the alarm and make myself get out of bed in the morning.

I head to the back porch to see what will happen.  I open my Bible.  I close my eyes.  I don't have a magic formula.  I just show up.  Every day I show up.  And on the occasional day that I miss - something goes missing.  I feel it - the emptiness.  I have grown to love those quiet morning moments much more than I hate waking up early, and yet every day I must still make myself do it.

Grace is good and, yes, different people operate differently but if we're not careful we can offer grace and make excuses so much that we completely neglect the discipline and commitment that is required to really live a life that matters.

Bob Sorge says that everything 'depends upon whether or not we hear the word of God'.  Everything.  Our lives can get so loud that we will never hear the most important words if we don't stop and pull away and get quiet.  I'm not telling you to take a 5 day retreat of silence into the woods - though that might be necessary for some of us.  I am telling you that nothing is so important that you can't offer ten minutes out of your day to be quiet.  To listen.  To hear.  To be broken apart again.

Call me crazy but I want to stay broken.  I don't want to try and duct tape myself back together.  I want to stay open so that people aren't so focused on me but what is on the other side of me - the inside of me.

How can we create communities where it is okay to fall apart?  How can we recruit more people to a life of transparency?
I think it starts with us breaking ourselves open on a regular basis in the presence of a God who can fill up our emptiness with truth and pour light into all of our cracks.
I think it requires some brave soul saying - 'I will go first.'
And I think it can lead to honest conversations in the corner of a fast food restaurant.

I know this to be true - if we want meaningful relationships and conversations that matter, we start by developing both of those things in the quiet moments with our Creator God.  Deep connection with others begins with deep soul diving with Him.  All you have to do is jump in.

{and if you're doing that - it doesn't matter what's on your coffee cup}