Are you the type to carry 20 bags at the grocery store? Are you the type to say,“No, I got this!” when someone asks you if you need any help, while forcing a fake smile and an overly cheerful voice? #metoo
This past January, we woke up to a blanket of fresh snow covering the rolling hills of our Tennessee home. Naturally, we put on our best winter gear layering on sweaters from H&M and Old Navy only to be made complete with a cute scarf, of course. One small setback was that my daughter, Gracie, had lost both pairs of her gloves the week prior. In our excitement, we thought it couldn’t be so bad to go gloveless. Next, we found a makeshift laundry basket “sled” and set off to find the best hill where we hoped to live out our winter wonderland dreams.
When we got to the top of our hill, we noticed everyone was much more prepared for the blizzard than we were. They were wearing what, to me, resembled professional snow clothes consisting of parkas, shiny overalls and real ski boots. I also noticed that all the neighbors had incredible sleds that looked like the ones from the Olympics. It felt like the whole neighborhood gawked at how unprepared we were for this moment of winter perfection.
In a moment of complete fakery, I just smiled widely. I acted so happy about our laundry basket sled, while inside I was worried sick about what everyone thought of us. With a plastered smile, I exclaimed, “Gracie, get in! We will push you!”
Can you believe that she only went about 2 feet forward in that basket and sank right down in the fluffy snow? In a moment of desperation, I insisted we try the same thing all over again. Maybe we just didn’t push hard enough, right? I felt like we had something to prove.
Right then, a little girl walked over. She introduced herself as Lily who just moved from Ohio. What happened next, I will never forget. Lily gently said, “Gracie, I have an extra pair of gloves in my pocket. I don’t mind sharing! We can take turns riding on my sled too, if you want!”
Without hesitation, my daughter did something so heroic. She allowed herself to receive this extension of grace and accepted a new friend’s gesture of love. She was the opposite of putting on a forced smile to say, “Oh no, girl, I’m totally fine. I LOVE my laundry basket!”
So many times in my life I have tried to pretend to have it all together. Too many times to count, I have relied on a go-to mechanism of striving hard to rely only on myself without asking anyone, or even God, for help. All of the time, this has lead me to a place of shame and inauthentic living. That is why I believe:
It is only when we allow our hearts to be true and open that we can truly experience the full purpose of the gift of community. Because when we don’t, we miss it. We miss connection. We miss laughter. We miss God’s best.
THIS WEEK — What if you just took one step closer to experiencing the true fullness of where you have been placed?
Be a Lily — Keep your eyes open. Meet someone where they are. Get your “gloves” out from your pocket (or whatever you have to offer) and extend your heart in a way that is not self-seeking or tied to expectations. Love in a way that doesn’t make sense to the world. Replace judgment with grace. Step to where God is leading with confidence.
Be a Gracie — Give yourself permission to be open and vulnerable with another person. Admit you don’t have it all together and you can’t do it all. Be gut wrenching honest. When God sends provision through a friend who says, “Me too” or “I’m here,” smile and be thankful. Don’t succumb to the need to explain your shortcomings. Rest in God’s abundant provision.
I hope you will be surprised with the joy you will find waiting on the other side.
Community is risky, but always worth it.