I'm so thankful for my closest friends. The ones I will keep for life. We have slowly been learning to share our true selves with each other, even if it means being vulnerable about where we are broken. We struggle with deep, tough issues. We have parenting woes, challenges, and joys. We have problems in our marriages. We question things about our faith, our church, and how the Christian life is to be expressed authentically. We struggle to feel we fit in or belong anywhere. I am so thankful for my friends who are willing to share their broken places and their victories with me.
I have discovered that loneliness is my biggest enemy. I have also discovered that I cannot undo that loneliness until I become real with people, a very hard thing to do, but I'm learning. I have discovered I can do this in only the safest of groups which are few and far between, but sharing with one or two people with whom I am safe, and where I can linger there without judgment, is such a blessing. If you do not have any group or friend like this with whom you would even begin to be completely honest with, then start looking. Don't become clingy and needy, just keep your eyes, ears and heart open for a genuine caring person who you admire and get to know them, and be open to letting them get to know you. You will be blessed by it. I have yet to completely conquer loneliness in my existence (can it ever be completely erased?), but I am grateful for my real friends with whom I can be real.
I am continually amazed by the grace of some "secular" artists, writers, and general people in the world. I wish I had more grace to extend to everyone in my life. These song lyrics remind me that no matter how anyone appears to have it altogether, or seems to have it all, no one really does. And this song reminds me that everyone has a need for grace, a need to be accepted with their brokenness and all.
But before I share these lyric I will take a sideroad. There has been some discussion surrounding a new sign outside a local church forbidding smoking on the property. I am thankful the senior leadership doesn't agree that this sign should be posted here. If any place should be a place of grace and acceptance for broken people, it is the church. If any place should be a place to ask questions, it should be the church. If any place should be a place of acceptance for people and their hurts, habits, and hangups, it should be the church. Our mistakes and sins God will deal with and forgive, but unless someone is able to feel acceptance by His people, how will they ever feel accepted by God?
My favorite secular songwriters have done it again...said what the church needs to continue to say:
Welcome to the party
Come on in and disappear
You're feeling like a stranger
But all your friends are here
Little lines and cracks
Around your eyes and mouth
Something's trying to get in
Something's trying to get out
It's okay to be a little broken
Everybody's broken in this life
It's okay to feel a little broken
When you wonder why you're breathing
Know you're not alone
It's so hard to believe
What's easier to doubt
You're trying to hold in
What you're dying to scream out...
It's just life...
Jon Bon Jovi and Billy Falcon
My church will be opening the doors to their new Celebrate Recovery program on December 6. A Biblically based 12-step program, it's open to anyone and everyone who is seeking help for habitual problems in their lives. Check it out. It may be in a community near you!