I’m a hands-down-4 on the enneagram, a contemplative, disciple maker, attention payer, heart listener, soul builder -found by Jesus. I’m also a wife, mom of 2, in recovery from codependency & hanging on to a few other vices-including ginger masala chai. And I feel you need to know that I’m absolutely WILD about storms-the darker and windier, the better! And I am, without a doubt, the LEAST techy person you know….It’s the irony of ironies that I’m doing a podcast. I’ve been called the “crash test guinea pig” for relational disciple-cloning.”
Every Soul Deserves Care
Do you wonder how you can possibly create more margin in your life to live life more connected with other humans? You know, the shoulder to shoulder, face to face kind of connecting that sociologists and psychologists are always telling us we need more of? Yeah, me too. First of all, let me say this- American women are my heroes! I’m amazed at how much you can get done in a day, but this pattern of independence that we’re known for- it could be making us sick in more ways than one. We are more overwhelmed than ever before in American history, so we don’t even realize how isolated we’ve been.
It can be daunting- the thought of building community. We’ve all been hurt by people. And we’ve hurt others too because hurt people always hurt people. BUT healed people help heal people. Restored souls can help restore souls. We are wired for relationship.
I have been practicing a new way of living and I want to share with you some of the changes I’ve made in the way of living life more connected- this is more than merely getting along with others. With a slight turn of the dial, I think we can make great strides toward caring for our own respective souls and experiencing healthy INTERDEPENDENCE; real community with others.
Here’s the thing- Having a smaller number of close friends is much more effective than having many acquaintences. The “Less is BEST” concept really applies here.
The place to start building healthy relationships is the mirror. We’ll talk about how important it is to listen to the voice of your heart and to honor it by not diminishing or invalidating our own emotions. I’m still learning how to do this myself. Years ago, I burned out, hit bottom, failed at several careers, caused ruptures in all my relationships and basically lived in survival mode through years of suicidal tendencies. I didn’t know how to care for my own soul. Listening to the voice of my heart is something worth learning; it’s an ongoing lifestyle that I’ll continue to practice for the rest of my days, which I value more than ever now that I know where I’m going after they’re over. When we’re honest with the holes in our souls, we can come empty handed to the only One who can actually fill them- Jesus Christ.
It’s imperative we take care of our selves. Think Stewardess giving her schpeal about the importance of placing the oxygen mask over your own mouth and nose first…..
Your Passion and Purpose
After enduring years of depression and just a general sense of malaise, we finally discovered a root cause- Lyme Disease, which nearly took me out, BUT not all the way…. And now, after wrestling for my very life, there’s an even deeper sense of purpose to my lofty goal- to allow God to make known His Name through all my life experiences- the good, the bad, the ugly, the redeemed and the not yet…. I still feel sick often. I still have a very limited supply of energy which I have to budget with care. I have to plan ahead with hours like dollars. I don’t really get out much so podcasting is a perfect fit for me.
Whether I am spending the little energy I have listening to a friend at my kitchen table or on the phone or over a set of mics, the chief end is always this; to point my fellow beggar to the place where I found Bread & encourage them to engage with Jesus Christ, the Cornerstone- He is the reason for all of it-the beginning and the end and the center. Once I stepped into the flow of the Spirit in my life, all sorts of spaces opened up in & around me, by His Grace. This is not to say my life suddenly got easier. It’s just that when life happens, (as it keeps on happening!!) I have an inner peace through it all that I did not think was possible; and clearly, I did not have it before walking with Christ- especially when it came to my relationships.
If you are a woman who feels hesitant about intimacy or exhausted by relational woes, I have a message of hope for you. After a broken engagement, losing a child, several severed friendships, 24 years of marriage and raising 2 of the most high maintenance, eatin’- est, drinkin’- est kids alive (albeit lovable 🙂 my mission is to coach you along and help you find the kind of transformation & freedom in your relationships that I’ve experienced in mine. Basically, I’m sharing all my relational fails openly so you don’t have to experience them the hard way.
As Christians, it IS possible for relationships with others to grow deeper & waaaaay more FUN- when we’re rooted in Gospel centered Love. The Lord is a relational God, One who sets an example for us in the Trinity. Father, Son and Holy Spirit are all are together One; each One complete. They share joyful fellowship together and somehow still, He longs for intimate connection with us humans. Do you know Him? He wants to be known by you. One way to know Him is to get to know yourself. Placing the wounded hand of your younger self in the Healing Hand of Your Loving Father will lead you to your passion and purpose. But don’t go it alone-together is better.
Your SOCIAL SPACES
Growing up in the states with one foot rooted in an ancient society gave me an up close look at life in two very different worlds. Here, in America, we pride ourselves on our self reliance. On long visits to India, my relatives showed me what it looks like to live in community, interdependently- there was a harmony to their system and a sense of transcendence I so miss now. I’ve been a student of my fellow brown people for half a century; I think we have a few things to learn from them. I’m no psychologist but this relationship stuff-it’s my passion! There’s nothing I’d rather talk about more than how an introvert like me can help build interdependence in her community, confess when convicted, initiate a confrontation in love, proactively resolve a conflict, apologize when she’s wrong & watch a relationship be restored.. AND nurture her own soul in the process- so she doesn’t get totally drained doing it.
Both times we found ourselves on the “adoption road,” our church family rallied around us both times like nothing I’d ever seen or imagined. Friends came out of the woodwork to help us raise funds, they brought us groceries and cooked meals, they taught our girls how to swim and read Braille (one of our daughters was fully blind) they even chipped in to buy us a minivan so we could cart all these people (and of course, each of their respective friends around.) I was so stunned to walk out my front door one day a few years ago, to see dozens of smiling faces in our front yard, tying balloons to the van and I thought, “With this community around me, I can do ANYTHING the Lord calls me to do.” I hope you have this kind of support where you are. And if you don’t, you can BUILD it! We will show you how right here! 🙂
This podcast is a way for me to say “Thank you” to God for dearly beloved friends- especially the women of my extended community in my sweet little big town, Nashville! And it’s a way of encouraging you, my Christian sister to take up space and bloom where you’re planted, to help grow the Kingdom of God by making disciples who make disciples….
I want you to discover, as I did, that when all 3 of these (soulcare, spirituality and social spaces) are integrated, problems take their proper size. When you are in touch with your emotions, deeply connected to your Maker, and have a few trustworthy others in your corner, you’ll realize you don’t have to camp in isolation anymore. You’ll go from pitching a tent by the River of Despairing Loneliness to only occasionally dropping by the Visitor Center on the way to the Lodge of Hope. (Pardon the cheesy analogy. It’s camping season here in my beloved Tennessee. And although I’m not big on camping, I have friends who love it and talk about it incessantly. 🙂
If I could, I’d yell my message of “healthy interdependent disciple-making” from the mountaintops. This show is my feeble attempt at doing that…. I’ve been inadvertently training for 50 something years, writing about it for 8….. Join me in the conversation. Subscribe to Heylove on iTunes, find me on facebook or instagram and let’s talk relationships.
A few books to nudge you along;
Voice of the Heart by Chip Dodd,
Sacred Romance by John Eldredge,
Counterfeit Gods by Tim Keller,
Life Together by Deitrich Bonhoffer