The one quality you cannot live without…if you want to live freely:)

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Every two weeks we do something I have grown to love, to need. We settle into someone’s home, sometimes our own. We have this little thing the Christian sub culture calls “community group”. To the outside world it may sound, cheesy, quite possibly hokey. Even to me I was a bit resistant, spiritual guard up, gloves ready to come out if I felt judged –for being, well, me.

But turns out to be one of the best experiences of my life. The other day as I was stopped at a ridiculously long red light—I do what I always do when I am forced to be still behind the wheel…I let my mind wander (scary, I know). I was recalling the night before and what made this two hour time on Wednesday something I actually look forward to, something my soul has begun to crave–like being anemic for years and tasting of the most divine filet. This time satiates a place in my soul that has been quietly growling for years. I began to go down corridors of: Why does it feel cathartic, not cumbersome? Why does this time feel like joy and not duty? Why am I not frantic to pull out my costume to mask my insecurities,doubts and inadequacies for two hours? 

And then the light turned green both before me and inside me.

I knew what IT was.

There is such a stirring, sobering, shake- your -soul honesty in that room. Sound bites of: My dad cheated on my mother at an early age. My parents weren’t there when I needed them. My mom is on the crazy train and always has been and all I want for my own kids is normal. I don’t always believe. It felt like God abandoned me. I tried to save a kid that was drowning and failed. I don’t always trust God. I battle major depression.

You name it and we have talked about. Each of us taking turns telling our life stories each week when we first began  and story by story the invisible fences  come crumbling down. The winds of  vulnerability infused with sincerity can knock down the highest barricades.

And may I tell you something?

Sometimes I hate life stories.

But only when they are disingenuous and duplicitous.  Like… I never struggle, my life has gone as planned down to the last detail including the month in which my child was to be born  because I didn’t want to be fat in the summer and the most stressful thing in my life has been choosing the color of my curtains. GA-GA-GAG.

It isn’t that I am jealous because God knows I am not above envy. But there is something so attractive and exotically beautiful about authenticity. Pure, unadulterated honesty is love on its knees. It’s humility’s twin brother.  You cannot have one with out the other. IT is saying,  I am no better than you. I humble myself by pulling back the curtains on my heart at the risk that you may not like me but at the hope that I may live fully and freely.

And humility opens up these dense doors that are double bolted by pride and waters of healing come rushing in that have been dammed up for years because you thought so and so had no chinks in their armor. But he or she did have chinks–they actually had bullet scars. You were just looking so inwardly that you could not see them. Everyone fails and everyone is perfectly imperfect. No matter how many flawless instagram photos you see or perfectly cropped and filtered facebook photos displayed-no one has the perfect life. And that is ok. Actually, that is beautiful.

Why in the heaven’s name am I sharing all this with you?? Are you thinking this post has as much to do with living fully as a green been recipe? Probably. I would be.

But I tell you this for  many—here are three:

1. Your story is your greatest gift–no one has YOUR STORY. NO ONE. It can heal and bring life or it can take you to the depths of bondage. I would say comparing ourselves is our number one robber of joy. I know it is mine. I could probably write on it for days because it is a weight that tugs and pulls us into the sinking sand of discontent the minute our feet hit the ground.

2. Being honest is like a balm–laying your crap at heaven’s door is like laying down a 3000 pound weight and not only do you lay it down but Jesus comes and picks it up and tells you to rest while He quiets you.

3. You cannot experience true relationship bliss without humble honesty. I mean, I guess you can talk about the weather and clothes and the new OPI nail polish for awhile, but when the shit of life hits the fan and ricochets everywhere you need people that love Jesus and love you not because of where you are or where you are headed but because they know your junk and they love you anyway.

We buy into the lie that we have to be perfect for God to listen to us much less love us. Truth is : You don’t have to have it all together for God to love and listen to you.  I realized a couple months ago that I feed God a lot of bull. As in I feign prayers I don’t mean. I know this sounds awful and not at all the holy response.  Somehow in our culture we have equated godly with pretty, flawless–the person singing hymns in the car with a golden, glimmering halo over their head because they always are smiling and never have doubts. But I am slowly grasping, God isn’t looking nor does he want my performance and perfection. He wants my heart–broken, jagged, tangled,  grimy, grubby, ugly pieces. So I have started changing my prayers–not for the sake of variety or to shake things up in heaven, but just because I struggle most days–struggle to be content, struggle to compare myself as a mom and why I have zero desire to do crafts and I ABSOLUTELY hate even the smell of  a Michael’s store, struggle to tell God what I want and not what I Am thankful for. And I have seen something happen inside me. He meets me. You dig up the dirt in your own heart and a relationship with the loving God of the universe grows. Even when my prayers are proceeded by cursing and huffing and puffing over the most trivial issues I feel the plates in my heart shift. Like an earthquake I rise to higher ground.  Did I really just say that to the God? Did I really just say that I am angry at that person still? Did I really just say I don’t trust you today? Did I really just grumble about so and so having it easier than me. Ah, why yes, I did. And you, GOd, lift my chin and said, “thank you for being honest. Thank you for knowing my love for you is not dependent on your goodness. It is about Me, my child, not you.  Pour it out–I know it is all hiding behind those pretenses anyhow. I AM GOD–I am big enough.”  And with a tilted , dangling, barely hanging on by a thread halo and a messy heart I usually utter something like this: Jesus, I am here. Standing. Breathing. Leaning into your loving arms. I.

You know, community group may not be made of gold paved roads with cherubs flittering  and ‘afluttering. But there is something heavenly about being real with people–not just sharing your crap because you are suppose to, but because someone needs to hear your story so they can put two feet in front of each other.

I am learning that that very place is holy ground. That VERY  place is walking parallel to the unseen world. For when we embrace our weakness, His light beams down and reflects off every crook and crevice. Admitting our imperfection gives heaven a mirror and its rays shine like the noonday sun. God’s light has no place in the proud nor does it want to be there.

If it takes me my whole life and then some I will try to live with this humble honesty as the soil beneath my feet from which all goodness grows. I will aim to have this kind of accountability… this fellowship because most of the time, well, a lot the time the only reason we stray so far out to sea is because no one was calling our name. Never calling you by your name because you and I would never would admit we couldn’t swim on our own. But when we allow our name to be called in love and compassion we are anchored. We stop drowning. We lift our weary heads. Hard times splash our face, temptations knock the breath out of us but we paddle on, sometimes bobbing for breath, choking on more water than air.

But we know when we rise back up someone, sometimes many are calling your name, my name…. we love you, we are not going to leave you.

Oh this is I am discovering is where I want to live and breath. This is the LOVE OF GOD.




I love this  first quote by Brene’ Brown…her writing in general is insightful. Though the font is small take the time to read this gem. Well worth it, promise!

second Authenticity1 (1)

humility 1

cs lewis quote

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  • Innie

    LOVE This!!! That’s called ‘connect group’ at my new church. We had ours last night actually so it’s quite something that I would read this post today! Sooooooo many put on the ‘mylifeisperfect’ mask. There’s not authenticity or (dare I say) integrity in that! – Innie

    • lifelivedfully

      hey sweet gal! how are you? sooo good to hear from you! HOW is your book coming? love from Tennessee!

      • Innie

        I’m good! Aurgh ‘the book’. Thank God I didn’t commit to anything! Bought a brand new Dell (dont ever buy a Dell) laptop, didn’t back it up and the thing died on me, the data cannot be recovered. So slowly I start again, but hey that’s life huh?! Working on a children’s book, trying to put a Christian message into it. Life just gets in the way sometimes!!! – Innie

  • Linsey @ Bravehearted Beauty

    I LOVE it when you write. I love every word, but these are the words that gave me chills today: “there is something so attractive and exotically beautiful about authenticity.” Exotically beautiful. YES. I thought I could find my way to that kind of beauty without trudging through all the hard, ugly, painful places in my heart and in life. I wanted the authenticity without the story. What was I thinking?!?! Curious if your group is through church. We’re doing good just to be there Sunday mornings, but we are craving deeper community and know we’ll have to start stepping out of our comfort zone (and leave our farm!) to find it. Love you, girl!

  • Christina Baker

    So so sooooo in love with this post!!! Again, so much that I can relate too.You heart and soul are so beautiful Lindsay!