Sometimes Love is a Four Letter Word

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We see you.

Close friends. Family members.  Co-workers.  In the quiet (and hopefully not in the creepy illegal way).  Even from afar.

You have an audience, a voice, and a platform. We are all influencers. What do you want your message to be? What is your voice?

What do you offer the world? Do you love? Do you listen?

What does it mean to make your mark on the world?

I have had the chance to be around a group of women that spread light every single day and it is changing everything for me. They seek out the needs of others to fill them. They speak to the hearts of others and their dreams. They help people dream again! They helped me dream again. How huge is that?

I want to be the person who helps others paint their own dreams.  To be the person who welcomes hope in when someone has lost it.

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I’m still learning to get outside myself because sometimes the scariest thing is closeness. What if they don’t like me? What if I say something that hurts their feelings or I don’t know what to say at all? Or what if I get hurt? Part of me has always held back.

When we were fairly new in our church I was determined to get to know more people. I decided I was going to talk to the person sitting next to me in Sunday school. Sitting down, I flashed a quick smile at her.  “Hi” we exchanged.  Then I completely blanked, anxiety gripping me. I froze. Looking straight ahead, still determined, I scrambled for words that refused to escape my lips. Nothing.

After a few minutes I retreated to the bathroom with shaking hands and brimming tears. Why was it so hard? I sat and prayed, pleading to just to speak up. Surely God would want me to do this. Almost immediately I received the answer “Just smile. They will feel your love in your smile.” Bah! Makes me cry just thinking about it.

I felt peace and I knew it was enough at that time. That day the best I could do was make eye contact and smile. It really was. I wanted so much to be the person that could put my arm around someone else. I wanted to be the welcomer for once in my life and not on the receiving end. Mostly, I just wanted to do it the way I wanted to do it.

I smiled and loved through closed lips for a while. And in time, I was able to open them.

I still struggle. Every day is a struggle but it has gotten so much easier. I don’t want to throw up every time I pick up the phone. I may stumble on my words or blank–but it’s okay. As my friend Katy reminded me, we wont die! It’s okay to be imperfect.  I hope to be a genuine and sincere person regardless of how polished I am.

Things don’t always come right away.  Sometimes we have to want them and want them for the right reasons long enough to get them. The Lord will slowly fill in our gaps.

That was almost 6 years ago. I think I struggled without progress for a long time because I wasn’t really trying to be a better version of myself. I wanted to be someone else entirely. I was looking for a re-write and I didn’t even realize it.

Things really started to change when I realized I had something to offer in my own packaging. I’m still an introvert (uh, hello! Blogger here.) and I mull things over forever. I will be quiet for a long time and then talk your ear off for an hour once I have made my mind up about something. But I stopped feeling the need to be interesting or entertaining. I just need to be me. It turns out most people don’t even care if you are are interesting—they just want you to be interested.

I don’t even know what I am trying to say. I guess we all have a goodness and light somewhere in there with all the head trash (if you need a definition of head trash, I will gladly supply it). We may not share it the same way that the people around us do. We may not even do it the way we want to at first. It’s not only okay, it’s essential. Our uniqueness is beautiful. Our unique voice can touch a heart the way another’s cannot. Be that voice. Love others. Give. Spread light in whatever way you can. Smile.

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