dive in

Posted on June 14, 2010

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For awhile, I mulled over what to do while away in Africa. Wi-fi is possible – but not a guarantee. And honestly? I really don’t want to worry about publishing posts and tweeting and updating statuses. I will write – but most of it will be my hand to a sheet of paper. Once I decided this, I knew I needed to ask some friends to take over my space for a little while. These are women I trust, admire, love and respect. I can’t wait for you guys to meet.

Over the next two weeks, women from all across the U.S. will share their perspective on story. Today you will meet Anna, a dear friend I met through twitter and got the privilege of meeting in real life through our church. Anna challenges me daily with her joy – and her complete trust in what God is working through her. She’s currently revealing this trust through a transitioning period – which means she’ll be leaving the great city of Austin. I’m going to miss seeing her face in the choir, but I know God’s plan for Anna’s story is far greater than either of us can anticipate. She’s definitely a person I’ve grown to admire, and I think you will agree once you read her authenticity in this post.

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I hate double standards. HATE THEM. Recently I’ve realized how many expectations I have for others that I throw by the wayside when it comes to me.

I’m an extreme extrovert. I LOVE being around people. I want to be asked to go out with friends. Yet those nights where I’m sitting at my apartment wanting to do something, I rarely pick up the phone to text or call someone and initiate seeing if they’d like to hang out.

I love getting REAL letters and cards through good old US Mail. That amazing card from my mom just to say hi and say she missed getting Diet Cherry Limeades with me. The quirky I MISS YOU card from my friend in Chicago with a chunky necklace she knew I’d love inside. I don’t even have stamps or most of my best friends’ addresses to allow me to write to them.

I find myself speaking into women in my life about how GORGEOUS they are, talking through their unique giftings with them, or prodding their hearts with questions about giving others enough credit to forgive. Next thing I know, I’m at my apartment alone and have trouble seeing anything but the ‘flaws’ when I look at my reflection the mirror. I wonder constantly if I’m too opinionated or undesirable.

I crave authentic community and deep relationships. I want people to invite me in to the deepest parts of themselves so I can KNOW them. Yet, the inner fear of failure or rejection, the shame from my past- sometimes those voices speak louder. They tell me to be quiet. To be happy with the relationships I have, not to push the limit with airing my past. Leave it there, let them know these comfortable facets of me.

But that’s not true. To only know the ‘now’- the Anna who has lived in Austin for two years, that’s not all of me. That’s a part of me, a vibrant part of me—but it’s not allowing friends the chance to understand the complexities that weave my story. There have been some low lows over the past 5 or so years to get me to the state I’m in emotionally and spiritually. The past few years have been an awakening of sorts for my relationships. Of taking that step towards people – the SCARY step, with tears running down my face, my soul completely open to them and being RAW. Trusting these women in my life with my joys AND my sorrows. Inviting them to celebrate AND to weep with me. That step is terrifying. I wonder, will she run away from me? Will she hold this over my head forever? Will she doubt my fervor for the Lord? NO! She won’t-the women I’ve opened up with have hugged me and cried with me. Prayed with me, then opened their hearts right back.

So far in my relationships, this step of faith has flung wide the floodgates of God’s mercy to speak through my friends. It has given my sweet friends the opportunity to love me unconditionally. To forgive freely. Rather than seemingly giving them ammunition to use against me, I am showing them what’s hidden behind the “mask” that I so often wear to Church or small group week after week. You’re giving depth to the wisdom that is shared over others when they ask for prayer. You’re trusting them to walk beside you from shame and into freedom.

So I encourage you—I beg you, to open up your soul to those around you. Grab a corner table at your favorite happy hour spot and DIVE IN. Revel in the joy of true accountability in relationships. Experience vitality and life anew.

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Thanks for sharing your heart with us, Anna! You can read more of her, especially this post, at recklesstrust.blogspot.com 🙂

Africa prayer requests:

– continued travel mercies

– we arrive in Nairobi after almost 24 hours of straight travel. Pray for energy, health and unity of the team.

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Posted in: Community, Story