Will You Live Like You're Loved?

“Sometimes I feel like I have to play relational tetris.” I said this the other night to a friend and immediately wanted to roll out of their moving car. Wow. I had finally found words to put to my feeling like I have to make all the right moves or my relationships will implode. If you read my last blog post (THANK YOU!) then you know I am in a season of letting people deeper into my life. This has brought up in me the fear of rejection and the fear of man but most deeply it has brought up this fear that if I make a wrong move, maybe people will leave me. Here’s the thing though, these thoughts and feelings have been so subtle that to me, well it seemed it had to have some truth to it (until I said it outloud and realized how sad it sounded). Isn’t it crazy that our biggest breakthrough moments also bring up our greatest fears? So here I am, minding my own business, trying to be brave and let people in to a greater level and BAM, I’m hit with the fear that if I don’t make the right moves, then it all comes crashing down. 

I instantly felt like I had been holding my breath for an eternity and then I finally exhaled. My friend looked at me and asked me if I knew I didn’t actually have to live like this. In my head I know it, but my heart is on a journey to this truth. Like anyone, I have had my share of relationships that have been hard and some that have had to end-we just couldn’t make friendship work anymore. What none of those people know is that my narrative always ended with the entirety of the breakdown being my fault. Now, we all know that most likely isn’t the case-it takes two people in a relationship and no one is ever blameless. For a long time though, my heart has believed all of these things have been my fault so therefore, Lauren, you better make the right moves moving forward. It is exhausting, it is overwhelming, and it is not the freedom that Jesus died for me to live in. I have been living in less than abundance and I cannot afford to live in fear anymore.

I was talking to the Lord all of this the other day and in His gentle, yet very firm voice He asked me a simple question-”Lauren, will you live like you are loved?” You can imagine the tears that flowed in this moment. In that question came the realization that I have been living for love and not from love. Living for love means I live my life trying to gain the affection and attention of the people I love. It means I strive and I try in my own strength. It means I become possessive and jealous and afraid. But, living from love means I can rest. It means I can believe that I am who God says I am. It means that I believe God is enough. It means that I choose to believe that the people around me actually see me and embrace every part of me. Living from love means that even when something is my fault, it doesn’t mean that people leave. It means that being in process is actually enjoyable and not something I run from because I fear that people can’t handle the mess. It means that I can let go. 

So, I’m throwing the tetris game out-it can all come crashing down. I am repenting of living in fear. I am living like I am loved. And when it isn’t easy, instead of trying to earn love, I will let people love me right in the middle. Most importantly, I am letting God love me, right now. Messy, complicated, unsure, afraid, and loud. I am loved, so I will live that way. 

You Can't Do It Alone

Recently I’ve been in a process that honestly has felt like would never end. Keep in mind, it has been approximately three weeks, not long at all, but for someone who loathes a process (I am really trying to learn how to embrace it), it has felt like an eternity. See, I have this thing where I don’t want to need anyone and I sure don’t like for people to see me being weak. Letting people into my pain? That sounds horrid. My narrative often runs along the lines of something like this “I am fine, no one can tell I am in pain. Just fake it till you make it. People don’t want to be around someone that is having a hard moment. If you are having a moment that means you can’t help someone else and then what does that say about you?” (I am thinking my fellow Enneagram 2s can relate to this). All the while, any human who comes into contact with me knows I am unwell. I am a horrible faker.

For me, God has been asking me to let people in further-to invite people new and old into my life into a deeper way. I think He has been asking me to let them see it all and for me to trust that they won’t run away, but instead run towards me. I think He wants to heal something deeper in me by using the people around me. This is where Luke 15 comes in and wrecks me. Starting in verse 18 we read  “Some men took a man who was not able to move his body to Jesus. He was carried on a bed. They looked for a way to take the man into the house where Jesus was. But they could not find a way to take him in because of so many people. They made a hole in the roof over where Jesus stood. Then they let the bed with the sick man on it down before Jesus.  When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the man, ‘Friend, your sins are forgiven’.” How deeply did these men love the paralyzed man that they GOT ON THE ROOF, CUT A HOLE IN IT, AND LOWERED THE MAN DOWN. They worked to see that man healed. They didn’t stop when there were too many people in the room to get to Jesus. They just got creative and relentless-their friend would be healed.

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about how I have friends who are so willing to do this for me. The friend that holds my hand and gives me permission to cry, the friend that isn’t afraid of my emotions, the friend who so relentlessly holds on to God’s perspective that I can’t stay where I am. I have friends who would lay their life down for me, but I have to be willing to let them do it for me. This man on the mat was completely paralyzed-Scripture says he could not move his body. He had to fully depend on his people to get him to Jesus. He had to lie on a mat as this renegade crew figured out how to lower him through a roof, into a room packed with people. He was fully dependent on the people around him to get him where he had to go. When I think about the story from his perspective, all I see is blind trust in the people around him and a desperation for the healing of Jesus, no matter how it came. Eventually, he got to Jesus and was healed. I’ve been asking God to give me the kind of faith this man had in Jesus and in his friends. More importantly for me, I am asking the Holy Spirit for the type of vulnerability he had. I need people. I need people who will climb on the roof, cut a hole, and lower my mat. I need help. My healing is going to come when I stop trying to get there on my own.

So, if this resonates with you let me say this-you need people. We all do. It is part of being human. Our healing comes through Jesus, but I am convinced it comes through the people he has put around us fighting for us. I’m going to let my people lower me through the roof and I hope you will too.

If you’re my people and reading this, well, thank you. Thank you for every encouragement, for every rebuke and challenge, for every time you’ve let me cry in Brett’s Casual American (or any other random location), and for answering all of my phone calls. Thank you for being the renegades who would do anything to see me walk into what God has for me. I love you.

What Am I Doing?

True transparency here, starting this blog was harder than I imagined. I kept coming back to the question of “why”? Why blogging, why coaching, why empowering people to live as who God made them to be. What I was reminded of (thank you, Holy Spirit!!) is that this is part of my calling. Part of my hard-wiring. And so this blog, no matter how many times I put off writing it,  starts with me writing about calling.

Calling in it's simplest form is knowing who we are in Jesus and making him known through who we are in him. Calling is all about using what He has already put inside of us-the gifts, talents, strengths, and abilities for the purpose of making Him known. Ephesians 2:10 says "For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us..."to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us."-He's already put it inside of each of us. It's the things that stir hearts, that make you feel alive, and that you know you have a gift for. Calling is all about using those things He has put inside of you to bring Him glory and make His greatness known. He wants to partner with the things He has put inside of you. Your number one calling in this life is making him known, point blank, end of story. You are called to partner with the things He has put inside of you and with Him so others will know him. Your individual calling matters because "we are God's handiwork", which means that he specifically and uniquely crafted each of you with a calling that is just for you. No one else will fill it on this Earth. Your calling-whether it looks like you being a stay-at-home, pastor of a mega church, accountant, or nurse matters. It like actually, really, really matters for the advancement of the kingdom. Your calling matters to His heart, because He created you with it in mind. So, living in your calling looks like you, being 100% completely you-the way God made you to be. You were crafted with the intent of making God known and bringing Him glory-that's what your calling is. There is no room for comparison. No room for fear. We have to start trusting that what He has put inside of us is good, that it is valuable, and that He wants to use it to bring Him glory. We have to start looking at ourselves and asking "Who am I becoming?" and seeing how He is shaping and stirring things in our hearts.

And that is what I hope to do in this space-help you and me ask the questions that lead us to discover, who we are becoming.