With graduations upon us, and with some books I have been diving into lately–I have been thinking a lot about generational gaps. About who the young people out there are looking up to. About what these young people are possibly thinking about as they move into the next scary huge chapter of their lives. Also, as I am preparing for baby three, who are the women around me who know what kind of crazy I am in for with three children!!!?
Originally, I was just going to direct this post towards women, and our girls…but I feel very strongly that as PEOPLE, as adults who have a few years under our belts, dealing with real life–we all have a role here. What first got me thinking about this topic was Brene Brown’s book Daring Greatly. She has given me some serious gut checks in this book about vulnerability and how it is effecting these generation gaps.
Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want to reclaim the essential emotional part of our lives and reignite our passion and purpose, we have to learn how to own and engage with our vulnerability and how to feel the emotions that come with it.
I can see exactly how and why more people are wrestling with how to believe they are enough. Wholehearted living is about engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness. It means cultivating the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think ‘No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough.’
Connection is why we are here.
There is a powerful cultural influence at play right now, and I think the fear of being ordinary is a part of it–the environment that not only explains what everyone is calling a narcissism epidemic, but also provides a panoramic view of the thoughts, behaviors, and emotions that are slowly changing who we are and how we live, love, work, lead, parent, govern, teach and connect with one another.
Whoa…am I right?! That is a lot of deep info about connection and vulnerability. All of the research and data she uses in her book she has spent DECADES collecting. One of the common threads that I have seen in dialog lately from some leaders I really admire is “you are enough”. You all…I do not think that we can say this enough. But more importantly we need those around us to show us we are, to teach us we are, and why. Men, women, children–we all need to know we ARE ENOUGH. So why don’t we??
That is a question I have been rolling over and over again in my head recently. Why do these young men and women think they aren’t enough? Why don’t they feel that they measure up, and who on God’s green earth created this unrealistic measuring stick they are trying to live up to?! The answer, which surprisingly was not obvious at first is…the devil. There, I said it. A few of you may have just rolled your eyes. A few of you may be ready to exit out of this screen. But it is the truth you all! He is stealing our joy, and he is stealing the truth from our lives. He is creating a scarcity mindset that is becoming the larger dialog and the root of all of it is: shame, comparison, and disengagement.
What I really want to talk about today is DISENGAGEMENT. I honestly didn’t realize how disengaged I was from the other women around me until another author Sophie Hudson, who I love gave me some similar gut checks.
Everybody–no matter the age–craves a safe place with safe people. We can find comfort and encouragement from someone in similar circumstances even if we don’t belong to the same demographic.
All too often, though, we look to the folds at our same age and stage and miss the wisdom and the perspective of someone who’s a little farther along.
The sister in Christ who is standing ahead of us or behind us or even at our own front door is not a threat. She neither hinders nor diminishes the assignment the Lord has given us. But if we let ourselves get sidetracked by pettiness or, heaven forbid, some good, old-fashioned paranoia, we may miss the wonder of seeing how intricately the Lord has woven our stories together, how intentionally He has intersected our paths, and how beautifully our callings compliment each other.
If for some reason, you have convinced yourself that you’re not needed anymore, that your best days are behind you, that you’re not “relevant” enough to serve your brothers and sisters in Christ–or, heaven forbid, your family–let me say this: Stop it. Right now. STOP IT RIGHT NOW. Don’t you dare discount your importance, your influence, or calling.
But here is what we have to tell ourselves and each other: when we are tempted to give up and hang it up because we are for whatever reason, fed ALL THE WAY up or maybe just scared to death, we can’t forget there are women behind us and ahead of us who need us to stay in it. There are women in your church who need you to stay in it. There are women in your family who need you to stay in it. There are women at your workplace who need you to stay in it. YOU. STAY. IN. IT. You are uniquely built to impact others in ways you cannot even imagine. You are the only “you” there is; no one else on earth has your wisdom, your experiences, and your perspective.
So who are we connecting with? Who are we creating a safe place for? Who are we sharing our wisdom and experiences with?
Something that comes to mind here is being “pushy” and sharing our “wisdom” with random strangers in the wrong avenue. That is not what I am referring to here. What I am referring to is the family, friends, acquaintances in the community God has put right in front of you. These relationships may need to be cultivated a bit first. You may not know much about eighteen year old “Lucy’s” interests, but that doesn’t mean you can’t ask her to coffee and bridge that gap. You may not know eighty year old “Lois’s” background or what is causing her to miss church some Sunday’s but that doesn’t mean you can’t drop by with a muffin to say hello.
The largest thing I have gleaned from digging into this topic is this: God intended for us to connect, bless and be a part of men and women’s lives of all ages. He planned for us to walk our paths TOGETHER. He finds JOY in it you all. And my guess is, that if it is something that brings him joy–it will bring us joy as well! Let’s reach out to the people around us, and find a way to bless them this week friends. These people need us, and we need them!