I don’t recall the last time we’d talked. But out of the blue I got a message from her.
I thought to myself, How weird. I’ve been thinking about her a bunch lately.
It started with a simple Can I take you out for coffee sometime? but then it was full of brave, to-the-point things such as I want to talk about what inspires you. I want to talk about Jesus.
This is brave stuff, people. In our time, you don’t get a lot of folks just saying exactly what they mean. I want to spend time with you. For a specific reason. I have things I want to talk about with you. Can we make that happen?
Sadly, it’s not common. It should be, but it’s not. Ladies, this is the worst for us. We follow each other’s Pinterest pages and see one another posting fun selfies on Facebook, and all of a sudden our highlight reels seems like our whole, perfectly packaged, color-coordinated lives. Not so. Life is messy and we need to get real about that. We need to reach out to each other and connect. But memories of mean girls, feelings of inadequacy, or the never-ending what-ifs can paralyze us into staying on our own little island, keeping up the stagnant status quo.
But there are those moments when something inside just can’t stand still anymore. Especially when you get to that point when you’re shedding the things that used to seem important, but no longer really matter. When you’ve got one arm around your right-now self and the other around the person you want to become, and you realize that to make a move, you’ve got to let go of one.
It’s a journey we all take at some point in our lives, and in order to take it, we have to have Our People. And sometimes you notice that you need more of Your People around. So you invite them to coffee. To talk about Jesus and the stuff that inspires you.
My girl Erin (another redhead!) has been My People for a while now. I think we’ve always kind of known it. We’ve been on the fringe of each other’s paths, which have crossed now and then. Thinking back, I couldn’t remember exactly how we’d met. She reminded me we taught a children’s ministry class together back in the day.
Around that time, she and her husband Danny also took Financial Peace University at our church, which my hubs and I facilitated. They got to hear all the details of our debt-free journey, and I am happy to say they drank the Kool-Aid big time. (WOOHOO!) They are on their path to being debt-free and living simply. She talks about us being an inspiration to them, but it’s very much also the other way around.
Erin is a beautiful person, inside and out. She falls in the category of My People I Can’t Wait To Spend More Time With in my life.
We did get together for that coffee, you know. And during that time, we talked at length about important things. There was very little small-talk because neither of us were super interested in that at the moment. Sometimes girls need to talk about cute shoes and vacation plans. But sometimes we gotta talk about what’s moving in our spirit and our hopes and dreams and fears and goals.
And sometimes we’ve just got to talk about how there are things we want to throw around, like important questions we don’t yet have the answers to. And we want to throw them around with someone who also doesn’t necessarily have the answers and who can be okay with that. Because shrugging our shoulders and saying oh well, I’ll never be able to figure that one out doesn’t work for us. We want to talk about it and toss it around with someone else who shares our heart on the subject, and see how iron can sharpen iron on the matter. That might take a few coffees or a few beers or a lifetime, but it’s worth the work.
Did I mention that Erin is a redhead? There’s some business about redheads being fiery and I really do believe that. She’s got this fire that won’t quit, and even during the times when she feels all melancholy about those questions she’s wrestling with, there’s always spark in her that keeps the joy on.
She’s got two perfectly adorable children. (seriously, Fiona’s curls and Felix’s chubby cheeks make me want to die of adorableness-overload!) I get to watch her parent from afar, and I from what I can gather, she seems to give her kiddos room to just become. Photos of her kids capture a variety of moods and outfits and activities that show their personalities coming out in every dynamic. She’s there guiding, but not pushing. It’s a beautiful thing. Those little humans are going to bring more joy into this world because their momma allowed them space to be themselves. It’s going to rock to watch that unfold.
Erin says it was after our coffee date that she knew for sure we were each other’s People. Our conversation moved from topic to topic so easily, talking through heavy things that you normally only talk about with your very best friends. We talked about the ways we’d felt God moving us along in our lives and where we thought we might be headed (or how unsure we were about that.) We both left feeling energized, refreshed, inspired. This is a telltale sign of Your People, my friends. Your People build you up and allow you room to breathe. You never come away stifled or feeling drained after being with Your People. This is a beautiful thing.
I can’t wait to get to know Erin even better and share more about how she’s shakin’ this world straight up. But can I just tell you what my take-away will be from talking about her today?
It’s Being Brave. Could you think for a moment about a person in your life who just might be Your People? Would you be so brave as to say to them something like I’ve really wanted to spend more time with you, so let’s make that happen. I want to talk about how you met Jesus, and how He has changed you and what’s going on in your heart right now.
Seem too risky? Erin did it. And she’s still doing just fine.
Or maybe you’ve just started reaching out to people but things didn’t go so well. What would it be like if you contacted that person and said Hey, you know what? Our first conversation didn’t go so well, and I’m sorry for ______. Can we maybe start over? Would that bring a little peace and joy to the universe in the form of a verbal white flag? Nothing wrong with that.
Still more of you might have People in your life, but you’re ready to move on to something more profound and authentic. Maybe a little more meshing of your faith and your everyday. Could you take a brave step of saying I love being friends with you. I feel comfortable talking with you about anything. I’m also at a point in my life where I want to connect even more deeply with people I love. Would you consider setting aside the first 15 minutes of each of our get-togethers to just talk about our dreams/faith questions/other-specific-important-things?
We need each other. We need folks with whom we can discuss these life-giving things and air out our frustrations and know we are still safe from rejection and judgment. Our People are that safe place. Let’s be brave enough to reach out, open up, and become that safe space for them. And I just bet that in those brave little moments, we will find what we’ve been looking for as well.
Erin, you’re an inspiration to me wrapped up into a tiny, gypsy-hearted package. Just the best of people. One of the things I love about you is your positivity. You’re always trying to be uplifting and I appreciate that. I love the journey you are on, with all its layers, and I’m honored to be part of Your People, cheering you along every step of the way. So glad you invited me for coffee!