Community :: You’ve Got a Friend

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I just discovered I really don’t have a lot of photos of all of my friends in my community.  :(  Maybe I can remedy that over the next few weeks.  So, if you’re not here, it’s because I don’t have a photo with you. Let’s fix that. ;)

 

I love having friends.

I really love having close friends – people that I can call in a moment’s notice if I need help, guidance, or just someone to chat with while I’m driving home.

Friends are great.

You should get a few.

Over the last 6 years I’ve had the privilege of learning what real community looks like.  This is where I’ve learned to be transparent.  It’s where I’ve learned to show grace.  It’s where I’ve learned to look past the initial response into the heart of someone, realizing that we are all wounded people on a path to healing and we sometimes act out of those wounds.

It’s been a great place.

Full of life.

Full of love.

Full of grace.

Full of friends.

Not those “I’ll be your friend only when you agree with me” kind of friends.

I don’t need any more of those in my life.

No.  These friends are the ones who really walk out the following passages:

Proverbs 27:17 – The Message
You use steel to sharpen steel,
    and one friend sharpens another.

Proverbs 27:6 – The Message
Wounds from a friend can be trusted.
    But an enemy kisses you many times.

What does that mean?  It’s simple, really.  It means I have people in my life who are faithful to speak truth in love to me.  Sometimes I want to hear it.  Sometimes I don’t.  It means I have people in my life who are in my corner all the time – not just when it’s convenient for them to be.  It means that even when I need to hear something hard, something that will help me mature and become a better person, they speak it in such a way that I leave there feeling and knowing that they believe in me and love me.

That’s a friend.

I’ve been so blessed these last few years.  So very blessed.  And as our time draws near to move away and start a community of our own, I’m becoming a bit more reflective about what we have here and how much I’m thankful for it and how much I’m going to miss it.

OneWord365 :: Selflessness

2014 One WordThis darn word.  It has rocked my world this year.  So much so, that I haven’t been able to even bring myself to post about it.  How do I share the ways this word has permeated my life? What words can I use to describe the journey I’ve been on so far?  I’m not sure I can at this point.  I want to, but it feels so deep, so personal, so hard.

I’ve had 3 scriptures that I’ve tried to focus on all year.  They’re posted on my bathroom mirror and on the wall at my desk – right in front of my face.

Philippians 2:3
Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top.  Put yourself aside and help others get ahead.  Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage.  Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.

Philippians 2:4
None of you should look out just for your own good.  You should also look out for the good of others.

1 Peter 3:8
Be agreeable.  Be sympathetic. Be loving.  Be compassionate. Be humble.  That goes for all of your.  No exceptions.  No retaliation.  No sarcasm.  Instead, bless.  That’s your job – to bless.

I used to think that being selfless would mean that nothing good ever happened to me – that I would be passed over, left behind, stuck in the thankless positions, always giving, never receiving.  I used to think that being selfless meant that I would forever be helping people, even at the expense of my own well-being.  I could just see me walking through life never being noticed, never getting that promotion, always in the background, always with the left overs.  Sounds dramatic, right?  Like a martyr?  Yeah.  That’s what I thought too.

You know what I’m discovering?

It’s the posture of my heart that determines selflessness.  If my heart is set on getting my own way, focusing on my own needs at the expense of everyone else, or feeling entitled, then it’s very hard to be selfless.  But when I focus on those scriptures and when I say to Jesus, “I want to be more like You,” then something amazing happens.  He begins to work on my heart.  He softens it and causes it to be filled with compassion for others.  It becomes a matter of “wanting” to be selfless, not “having” to be selfless.

There’s something redeeming and restorative about walking this out.  It actually has a boomerang effect.  That whole sowing/reaping thing.

I find that the more I give away, the more I want to give.

And yet, the more I seem to receive back.

So while there are still ways I find myself kicking and screaming at how this word plays out, I am determined to walk it out.

Even when it feels hard.

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Did you participate in OneWord365 this year?  If so, I’d love to hear about your word and how things are going for you this year!