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It came down to this. These words.

You have a choice. You can stay in this place of despair and despondency, waiting for things that may never happen … or you can move on.

Find another place to dwell. 

A moment like that, if you’ve ever had one, can be life changing. And once you’ve been there, you never forget it. You never forget that minute, the way you stood up, shaky on legs unused to standing firm. You never forget the way it felt when you tipped your chin just so, raised your eyes and faced down that fear. And that first step, when you thought you might stumble, but instead you had hands to hold and arms to get all wrapped in, and words were whispered through the tears … and then … and then the laughter came.

Sometimes it’s hard to find another place to dwell. When you’ve been there so long, listened to the same lies over and over and even bought into them when you swore you wouldn’t, it’s hard to believe things can change. But they can. You just have to move.

So often in victory, once we’ve climbed the mountain, we do forget. We forget what it felt like back there, in that hard place, and we don’t think about what we left behind.

Or the ones who may still be struggling

I wonder how many feel that familiar sense of dread as the holidays approach. That overwhelming sense that no matter what you do, what you say, how you dress, what gifts you give … it just won’t be enough. That you … you … will just never be enough. 

It’s an ache like damp cold that seeps in and stays and you know you need to shake it off but you’ve tried time and again and today … you’re tired. Today you can’t. Just. Can’t.

Hello, church? 

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I wonder if we can take a break for a moment. Just quit the complaining, the chastising and comparing and care. Really look around with eyes to see and ears to hear, and maybe you’ll be surprised to find that there’s a broken world out there, so desperate for something new and life-giving … and they’re looking at usand we are failing.

Why? Because we’ve forgotten. We’ve forgotten that moment we made the choice to change our lives and move. We’ve forgotten that we were once in that place with no way out, desperate to escape cloying darkness determined to snuff out all our light.

And now that we’re here, rescued and rested and ready for this new thing … so warm and safe and secure … we don’t want to look back. I know. It’s hard. Because it hurts to remember the reality of being vulnerable and wounded and scared and now we’re so darn busy pretending in all our perfection that we simply can’t make the time to help, to hear, to heal.

So what if we stop. What if we just get real? Because let’s face it, nobody wants your fake perfect. And nobody cares what color your cups are.

Brokenness is not contagious. But it can kill a spirit. 

Self-righteousness slices deep and wounds so dangerously …

And judgement? Bleeds life right out of a person. 

I wonder if we can do better this year?  In all our moving on and moving up and moving out … I wonder if there is room for more in the place we now dwell.

More love. More laughter. More life.

Because we don’t have to have it all together.

I don’t. And I no longer pretend to. You can take my vulnerable and my honest and my blunt and wrap it all up pretty if you want, but it still comes from that same hard place. That place I left behind not so long ago. The place that marked me and left a few scars and some not so pretty stories to tell. And I’m okay with that. You want to know me? Get ready for real. That’s all I’ve got.

But you are welcome to walk alongside and listen. And maybe we can learn together.

I’d love to see things change. Love to see more grace. Less judgement. More compassion. But I know I can’t do that on my own. And I guess that’s okay too.

What I can do is embrace the here and now and saving grace and love and mercy, and maybe … with a deep breath and a whole lot of courage … maybe I can just put my arms out and help somebody else. Even if only through the words I write.

Right here. Right now.

Right where I dwell.

And maybe you can too.

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