Tuesday, September 10, 2013

WITHness

 There’s a funny sign I saw recently that said something to the effect of, “I can’t wait for you to come over so we can sit in silence and play on our phones.”   And while at times I am just as guilty, I can’t help but wonder why we feel increasingly lonely and isolated, even in a room of friends. 

One of my greatest passions is to grow and see others grow in the area of being WITH someone as they share a piece of their story, their SELF.  For many it is a risk to talk about the deep things of the heart.  What I’m realizing is that every person has a different definition on what “deep things of the heart” actually are.  For one friend it is telling about a struggle at work and another it is about a struggle in marriage.  Truly is there anything like presence? For a few moments that person knows that they matter, they are important, heard, valued and hopefully leads to an ease in the ache of loneliness.  What a gift to be seen and to SEE.  The power of WITHness leads to life change. 

Think of the people in your life that just the mere sitting down across from them can trigger tears….tears because you feel safe and vulnerable and there is no pretense.  You need to hang on to this friend, because what they carry is sacred.  What they offer to you is their very self.  Jesus fully alive in his sons and daughters, loving with no thought of cost or what’s in it for them.  We need more sons and daughters like this. 

I want to call out sons and daughters who are okay with silence in a group.  Sons and daughters who don’t short circuit a person’s sharing and pain by offering to pray right away……don’t get me wrong. Prayer is great! Needed! But when it is just a way for you to not feel uncomfortable with someone’s pain, then I encourage you to get your squirm under the authority of the Spirit and struggle with staying present.  We could learn a lot from our Jewish brothers and sisters when it comes to pain and grief.  They sit Shiva for 7 days after a loss. Traditionally, no greetings are exchanged and visitors wait for the mourners to initiate conversation, or remain silent if the mourners do not do so, out of respect for their bereavement. They even sit on the floor near those mourning.  There’s something powerful about being WITH. A few months ago I shared my testimony in a setting with people that I did not know well.  Afterwards, someone came and knelt down in front of me and proceeded to ask me questions no one had ever asked.  I was pretty undone internally and was not quite willing to answer. This person’s care and interest was like nothing I had experienced regarding interest in one particular part of my story. I wish I could go back to that moment. What he offered me was powerful. I'd respond differently. I want to be the type of friend who will kneel down and ask the question. 

When someone share’s their story do you give them eye contact?  Do you look around as they are talking? Do you ask questions because you are genuinely curious about that image bearer?  If you are uncomfortable “going there” then that’s okay.  We all start somewhere.  So here’s to you starting today or tomorrow.  Practice giving of your presence. 100%.  Your relationships will change and YOU will change.  Jesus is about relationship.  Praise God he doesn’t have an iPhone or TV because that would get on my nerves.  On this journey of WITHness alongside you.  

Monday, September 2, 2013

Songs of 2013 (so far)

I sat down to write a post about what it means to drink from The Cup that Jesus extends, but I just can't go there tonight, thus you get a shallow post (wahoo for shallow and breezy!) with a list of songs I've been playing over and over in 2013....a songbook of my year. So if you are in need of some different music and haven't heard these, check them out.

Get your worship on playlist:
1.  I See Heaven - Bryan and Katie Torwalt
2. Ellie Holcomb's entire album
3. Dance With Me - Eddie James
4. Running - Christ for the Nations Music
5. The More I Seek You - Kari Jobe
6. Great Are You Lord - All Sons and Daughters
7. Glorious Ruins - Hillsong
8. Spirit Break Out - Kim Walker Smith
9. One Thirst - Bethel
10. Come to Me - Jenn Johnson
11. Lord Come - Will Reagan & United Pursuit
12. Take a Moment - Will Reagan & United Pursuit
13. Faith to Believe - Shane and Shane
14. Though You Slay Me - Shane and Shane
15. Commission - Will Reagan & United Pursuit
16. Rend Collective Experiment
17. Every Season (an oldie) - Nichole Nordeman
18. Everything to You - Bethel
19. Your Love is Moving - Christy Nockels
20. Give Me Honesty - Jonathan Etienne
21. God I Look to You - Antioch Community Church
22. God of the Redeemed - Bethel
23. He is Faithful - Bryan and Katie Torwalt
24. I Shall Not Want - Audrey Assad
25. A Million Suns - Hillsong United
26. My Portion Is You - Antioch Community Church
27. Nothing Is Wasted - Elevation Church
28. Blessed Assurance - Steven Curtis Chapman
29. You Revive Me - Christy Nockels
30. Who Can Compare - Mary Kat

And some not so praise tunes:
1. Golden - Lady Antebellum
2. Can't Stand the Rain - Lady Antebellum
3. A Thing for You - Easton Corbin
4. Every Teardrop is a Waterfall - Coldplay
5. When It Don't Come Easy - Patty Griffin
6. What Would I Do Without You - Drew Holcomb
7. The Wine We Drink - Drew Holcomb (don't worry if you are Baptist you can pretend it is grape juice)
8. Tennessee - Drew Holcomb
9. Love Is Waiting -Brook Fraser
10. Born to Love You - Nathan Angelo
11. Love Is Everything -George Strait

And you can't go wrong with:
1. Don't Stop Til Ya Get Enough
2. Faithfully
3. You're the Inspiration
4. Don't Stop Believing
I mean, I'm so cool.