I have a pretty cool life.
I have a husband who tells me I’m witty, wise, and winsome.
My kids think I’m equal parts annoying and awesome.
I have a really great job where I write thoughts and share ideas and fight for the stuff of life that’s challenging and beautiful and full of wrestling. Most days I love it.
I travel quite a bit, speaking, hearing people’s stories, exploring this gigantic wide world full of life and culture. I get to go local and grab eclectic eats. Sometimes I ride Ferris wheels and walk around ships with skyscraper sails during an hour of down time. After all, I’d hate to miss an adventure.
I know you have a pretty cool life too. Your life is different from mine; none of our lives look the same, or should look the same. How boring would that be? We all have different experiences, moments, and relationships of cool, awesome, and wow.
We can know some pretty cool stuff too.
What you know might be similar to or different from what I know. I happen to know a lot of churchy stuff and big words. You might know about chemicals and compounds, geeky techno stuff, be a master of figuring out how things run, or know how to ask for a red pepper in a tribal tongue from a foreign land. You might know how to master picking a show on Netflix, a special knowledge that evades me on a daily basis.
We can know some answers and know some people.
We can have a house fit for the cover of House Beautiful, have style, have class, and have flair. We can be down to earth, full of humor, pass around the best articles (first!) on social media…
but without relationships, without connection, without authenticity and the shared meaning that comes from the story-making of this life, without our people to share all of this cool and awesome with, we have nothing.
When I say nothing, what comes to mind?
My mental images of nothing are strong:
a blank page
an empty wallet
a hand reached out to vacuous space
Nothing though, is really less than those things even. Every way we have to picture nothing starts with something and all those somethings come from somewhere. The concept of nothingness is hard to comprehend, because we weren’t meant for nothing. We were meant for something and, actually, we were meant for something more.
A man named Paul once shared this wisdom -
I can know 7 foreign languages and use them with aristocrats and ambassadors…and have nothing.
I can speak to angels, with their golden wings and light-flipped-on-in-the-middle-of-the-night-brightness…and have nothing.
I can write grand visions for companies and people, I can see the map of my future self as clear as day…and have nothing.
I can have my own marching band that follows me around and sings fight songs with my name in the chorus…and have nothing.
I can know so much stuff…so much…university degrees and doctoral dissertations coming out of my ears…and have nothing.
I can be a good daughter, a good wife, a good mother, a good person…
I can pray hard and long and beautiful…
I can believe in the right things so firmly that no storm, no heartache, no cheap whispers could ever get through my defenses…
and have nothing.
These words from this guy, Paul, are more than words. God, through people, opens the skies and brings insight into life. He is this big Someone who sees the junk we walk through in our lives, but doesn’t always fix it, which might make us feel like nothing. That junk might also make us want to believe that a whole lot of nothing is better than whatever something we get when we connect and reach and open ourselves to Him and to others.
All that connection and deciding to breathe the air of those standing around us, that is the something of life. Being known for who we really are, being chosen in our vast imperfection as a friend, as a child, as a lover, as a gym class partner…that’s how God helps us understand: we are not nothing.
Love takes nothing, and makes it something.
Love makes our world something worthwhile, worth all the heartache, worth the disease and the deportation, the depression, the disastrous decisions, and all the other ugly d words. With Love, all that mess is hopeful.
I want to be brave, to connect deeper and have people look at all my dirty parts and disposable ideas. I want to look into the people around me and stop seeing nothing. I want to go in further and get to know people’s true selves, not the fixed up online version.
Would you love brave with me?
Would you take time to hear about hard things, so that when the time comes for connection you can love stronger?
Would you join the discussion and share your insights about the somethings you know and where love was in the midst of it?
We’ll discuss loving brave and connecting deeper in this life, right here at ilovemyshepherd.com over the next weeks. I hope you’ll join us for one day of it, or every day of it!
We will Love Brave together.
There will be a video released on our YouTube channel every Sunday night. These are honest discussions, open conversations, no easy answers I promise. You can grab a notebook for your thoughts while you watch them or join the conversation in the comment section of the video.
Then, there will be a post defining what it looks like to love brave every Monday-Thursday.
Grab a friend or four and create a Brave Collaborative. Every week challenge one another in text, online, or over beverages toward some brave goals to let more love out and get more connected rather than turtle up.
Sign up on our subscriber list and follow @ilovemyshepherd on social media to get all the goodies sent directly to you via email.
Let’s do this…
Let’s choose something, rather than nothing.
Let’s Love Brave together.
There’s nothing more sobering than losing when you thought you were winning, or discovering that you have nothing when you thought you had something. When I think about how God sees me, and how He looks through the veneer to see the *real* me, it’s then I realize I really have nothing without Him. It’s there at the bottom, bankrupt, beaten and broken, where He lifts me up. Heidi points out how Paul thought he had “everything” in this life, but it wasn’t until God confronted him and revealed he had nothing that Paul could finally do something with the Gospel. That’s what God’s love does. His love makes nothing…something more than we could imagine.