(in)RL 2014 {a.k.a The Day I Held Open the Door}

I’m an extrovert.  I always have been.  I thrive on the energy from a room full of people and I love being in the thick of things at a party or hanging out with my friends.

So it surprised me a little bit when Saturday morning dawned and I couldn’t seem to settle the nerves.  Tears threatened spill as I went about preparing for my Meet Up. All of that anxiety slid into fear and things went pear shaped very quickly.

I snapped at my husband, had an argument with my son.  I fretted and worried when the first person called to cancel.  At one point I looked at my husband and said “I don’t know if I can do this.”

He very gently, very tenderly took all of my fears and offered them up to God in a simple prayer. He knew what I hadn’t quite figured out yet.  God was in control of this gathering, my only task was to open the door. 

I knew I needed to settle my heart so I grabbed my journal and wrote these words.

“The house is ready.  I can smell brunch baking, the living room looks inviting and warm –and still my heart is skittering… It’s not as if the women coming are strangers to me.  I sit beside them at church, I’ve had them around my table.  Yet I feel so completely and utterly 
afraid of this day.”

My extroverted self wished that, for this Saturday,  I could be stranded on an Island with nothing but the two dozen cupcakes I had made for the Meet Up earlier in the week.  
During those few moments before the first knock I came to understand why God was having me host a Meet Up. 
1.  Despite being very active in my church and small groups I was CRAVING deep and meaningful conversations with other women. 

2.  Even with this longing for deep hospitality, I was expecting people to approach me with relationship.  I learned on this day that I need to take the first step. 

3.  I still really struggle with being an approval addict and this spills over into how I enter into relationship with other people. 

4.  God is not looking for me to be perfect, He’s looking for me to be available.  Perfection can be the noise that drowns out the sound of God’s voice. 

This weekend began a healing in me that I didn’t even know I needed.  And through the laughter, the flying food (long story), and the tears I sat back and watched God move. 
Woman after woman shared their stories and almost all of us whispered back “You too, I struggle/wish for/want the same thing.” 
I watched God open up the doors for meaningful conversation and provide an opportunity for dreams to be spoken out loud. 
And through it all I felt my heart softening even more as God removed the final stones from the wall that I had erected years ago when community had wounded and shattered me. 
As my friend Crystal Stine says… “I’ve gone from being broken by community, to be broken for community.” 
My prayer after this weekend… the one that I have been afraid to utter, the one that will keep my heart soft for community?  
God please continue to break my heart… because that’s how you build deep, lasting and beautiful relationships within the body of Christ. 

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