Sunday, January 31, 2016

"I want to have less surface conversations because those are evil. I feel like I joke a lot-- but everyone knows that I really mean in."

When I walked out of church this morning I ran into Elise and Jill Ruby and the whole Craig family. It reminds me a little of the church I grew up in, Delphi United Methodist Church, and how everybody knew everybody. That church was my playground, sanctuary, school, hang out and safe spot-- I laughed and grew more in that building than probably anywhere else during my Delphi years. I'm so thankful for how knit into that community I was after years of Sunday School, youth group, Bible Bowls, musicals, Sunday services, 30 Hour Famine, concerts, and volunteering. I'm so thankful for that season of my history. 

This afternoon I got to hang out with Fudge-- last year I met her at her locker after lunch and walked her to math class every single day. She'd give me updates on her life and she was one of my main characters. Now I'm thankful for days like today when we get to hang out for a couple hours-- asking questions, telling stories, folding laundry and making bracelets. She's a keeper.

They may disagree about eating meat, but Meg and Julia both love rice. We made Top 10 lists of snacks, happy places and the things the other people would save if their house were burning down.

Top 10 Happiest Places To Be In The Universe
1. Green Cathedral on a summer morning
2. The Lodge at Timber Wolf Lake
3. The Longhouse
4. Magic Kingdom watching a parade
5. YL Campaigners
6. Dimnent Chapel at Hope College
7. Closing Campfire on Friday night
8. Anywhere on the Washington, DC Trip
9. Running into Club at YL Camp
10. Starbucks on a coffee date

One of the things I wish I had been more intentional about would be staying in touch with some of my friends at Hope that I've lost touch with. I met Kelly my freshmen year when we were both loving in Dykstra. We lived together again in Van Vleck and then stayed friends all four years. Kelly is so many things-- classy, genuine, patient, thoughtful, loyal, compassionate and full of integrity. Today I stumbled across a post she'd just written. We're worlds apart now, she's pregnant with her third kid and spends most of her days at home as a mom. But I could tell as I was reading her post that her heart is still just the same and it made me miss her. She's a beautiful writer and a beautiful human-- check out  Kelly's new blog.

Week 2 of Jen Hatmaker's Brave Girl series was excellent. I'm loving this time with these friends that feels a little cozier and more focused than Campaigner's, a format change that's working for us right now. After so many years of history together it's so good to dive into these conversations together. Tonight was all about friendship--choosing the best friends, cultivating healthy relationships and and being courageous in community.

Safe, authentic, true friends allow you to be on the outside who you are on the inside.

When you think about your friends, ask yourself these questions:
When I'm with them, Do I love people better? Am I kinder? Do I love God more? Do I feel more like myself?

This is harder: Are you a safe friend? Are you trustworthy, honest, encouraging, not gossiping.

10 Year Rule: Are these the friends you want to be with in 10 years? Are they going where you want to go? Are they good for you?

If you are courageous enough to make hard choices now it will pay off later.

There is no such thing as a completely drama free relationship. That's ok and normal. But you need to learn how to deal with that conflict. Go to your friend 1 on 1, not through text, and I say, "I need to tell you this, I value our friendship too much to let it go." 

"As much as it depends on you, live in peace."

The mark of a good friend is someone who can say sorry and ask forgiveness.

I hope you can dig deep enough for compassion, kindness and humility. Apologize instead of becoming defensive when you've messed up. 

"Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful." Colossians 3:12-15

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