All You Need is L & W (Day 4)

The goal of the process is to rise from our falls, overcome our mistakes, and face hurt in a way that brings more wisdom and wholeheartedness into our lives. Brené Brown. 

I pray that you will overflow with love for others, and at the same time keep on growing in spiritual knowledge and wisdom… May you be filled to overflowing with the fruit of right living that shows you are a child of God… Philippians 1:9-11

This week I am on spiritual retreat with a group of women exploring their purpose and calling. I guess you could say they are asking the question: “What is my arena? Where in the world do I want to show up, and be brave?”

I’m very proud of them (and me:) And here’s what I can do for us all– it’s more powerful than anything else. I can pray. I can ask God for favor; and I can speak God’s words of grace and power over us all as often as humanly possible.

Paul’s prayer in Philippians 1:9-11 is powerful to me, because it voices exactly what I desire– to grow in love, spiritual knowledge and wisdom– to overflow with goodness and be a true child of God in contemplation and action.

And what about the falls, mistakes and hurts that come into our lives and disrupt the goodness?

Well… What if our face down moments are much more than painful tragedies or occasions for evil to mock us in the face? What if wisdom and wholeheartedness grow in our hearts AS we rise from falls, overcome mistakes and face hurts head on? What if courage forges new material in the human spirit?

As I listen to these womens’ lives, that’s what I hear happening.

Starter Prayer

God, may love and wisdom grow in our hearts. Give us the grace to lean into the discomfort long enough for strength to rise.

Reading Focus for Rising Strong, by Brené Brown

Try to get through chapters 1-2 by your first group discussion; and chapters 3-4 for the second session.

Partners in Grace (Day 3)

You have me in your hearts, here in prison as I am, working to defend and bolster up the gospel. You are my partners in grace, all of you! Yes: God can bear witness how much I’m longing for all of you with the deep love of King Jesus. The Apostle Paul (Philippians 1:7-8)

This journey belongs to no one but you; however, no one successfully goes it alone. Brené Brown.

When people were put in prison in Paul’s day, the prison didn’t provide food or blankets. Prisoners had to rely on friends to help them survive. When Paul was in prison in Ephesus, the story goes that his friends in Philippi raised money and sent a messenger on a long, dangerous journey to bring it to their imprisoned friend. This explains the phrase: partners in grace. The Philippians were ‘in the arena’ with Paul– face down, risking their lives to spread the Good News that all people are welcome in God’s family of grace.

Over and over in this prison letter, Paul speaks of this ‘partnership’. Some Bibles translate it as ‘fellowship’. But here, there is an element of financial support that goes beyond ‘fellowship’. To Paul, these friends are gospel of grace partners. In the rising strong process, we call these people our marble jar friends. Check out this story about the marble jar.

In Rising Strong Chapter 1, Paul’s type of partnership shows up in the #3 rule of engagement, which says…

This journey belongs to no one but you; however, no one successfully goes it alone. Since the beginning of time, people have found a way to rise after falling, yet there is no well-worn path leading the way. All of us must make our own way, exploring some of the most universally shared experiences while also navigating a solitude that makes us feel as if we are the first to set foot in uncharted regions. And to add to the complexity, in lieu of the sense of safety to be found in a well-traveled path or a constant companion, we must learn to depend for brief moments on fellow travelers for sanctuary, support, and an occasional willingness to walk side by side. For those of us who fear being alone, coping with the solitude inherent in this process is a daunting challenge. For those of us who prefer to cordon ourselves off from the world and heal alone, the requirement for connection—of asking for and receiving help—becomes the challenge. Brené Brown.

So, who are your marble jar friends? Who has earned the right to hear your story and give support? Whom do your trust? Remember, vulnerability is not about oversharing, and simply a few marble jar friends will do. In the coming days, we will explore the importance of boundaries in the rising strong process. But for now, call to mind those marble jar friends. What are the qualities that make someone a good friend and partner in grace?

Starter Prayer

God, help me call to mind and cherish my marble jar friends. Help me create and nurture these friendships in my life.

Reading Focus for Rising Strong, by Brené Brown

(Try to get through this much reading/listening by your first group session; but if not, no stress.)

Chapter One: The Physics of Vulnerability (Also known as the 10 Rules of Engagement for Rising Strong.)
Chapter 2
Chapter 3 (A very short bit of good stuff)

Courage Transforms (Day 2)

Once we fall in the service of being brave, we can never go back. We can rise up from our failures, screwups, and falls, but we can never go back to where we stood before we were brave or before we fell. Courage transforms the emotional structure of our being. Brené Brown.

 I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul (Philippians 1:6)

Many summers in early September, Dave and I make pilgrimage from Bear Lake to Grand Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park. It’s a 17-mile “day” hike over the continental divide.  Once you’ve set out on a journey like that, there is no point in stopping halfway. 

Continue reading Courage Transforms (Day 2)