With open hearts...

There are lots of blessings and declarations out there right now on social media and blogosphere in regards to 2015. Many wish for it be better than 2014. Some have claimed they know it's going to be their year, that they are going to take it by storm. Some want to forget last year even happened. Many still need time to process all that happened.  Lots of friends had devastating heart break and earth shattering joy. Most of us, lived somewhere in the middle.

As I do most often before I write here, I wonder at the relevance of sharing my heart or life with you all and what good it produces. Assuming that many writers do, especially when we put out words and heart out there in the universe that it should in some way produce something; joy, inspiration, reflection, focus, angst, worry. Who knows what response mine or other bloggers and journalists produce with readers when they write. 

Me personally? I would love to know that by sharing my life with you, together we would know that we aren't alone. That by sharing my heart and journey, mostly my struggle or fascination with the culture of the hood, that we could be bonded by our shared humanity. I desire that this space could be a place where we encourage each other to strive to see each other and our world through God's lens of love and compassion.

So what does that mean for 2015?

For me 2014 left me spinning in the wake of my first book, taking more time than I thought to recover. I felt more publicly exposed than I ever have, and my response was to hide away. Or least it felt like it. I had so many ideas and expectations pushing against who I am, who I thought I was, and what I wanted. 2014 brought a deeper sense of being self aware, slowly letting go of decisions driven by obligation and guilt.

It might sound silly, but at the age of 35 I feel more like myself than I ever have before. Through the course of this crazy two year process of pushing hard toward a dream, I have been able to sort through what is real and what isn't. And somehow in the middle of all my crazy life and dynamic family, I found me. The strength, the weakness, the fun and the irritating. I am not more or less a fan of myself, but I know myself now in a way I did not before because I spent time getting to know myself outside of what others want for me.

So what does that mean for 2015? This is my wish for us together in this thing called life.

I want us to share more. Share more thoughts and the real feelings that scare us into silence. I want us to over share so together we can be crazy and hurt and filled with wonder at how life delivers its magic and low blows. I don't want us to hold anything back because we fear how it might be received. I don't want to filter my thoughts wondering when I do if that means you are done with me.

I want us to read more. Not just romance or mystery or books that don't require us to engage with life.  Let's not escape all the time but instead read a book or two that challenges our thinking and beliefs.  Books that educate us on the real issues facing the world.  Books that inspire us to wants something richer for our lives. Let's read a biography of someone who changed the world and learn about their heart. Let's read poetry. Let's read literature that stirs the rumblings in our soul.

I want us to cook more. Grab a coffee or a glass of wine and mix it up in the kitchen. Grab a spouse or friend or family member and have them share the experience with you. Let's move away from convenience and inch closer towards the gifts we make with our hands that bless others. Let's choose the beauty of cooking real food instead of that quick and easy fix that hurts us in more ways than we can recognize. 

Let's listen to more music. Music is my greatest muse. Someday I want to write a book just on my reflections that stirs in my soul when listening to music. Music speaks to the human heart in a way that words can not alone. You feel more. You dance more. You smile more. Sometimes you feel more. That's a good thing. Let's listen to more music.

Let's feel more. (My husband would most likely wish me to scratch this one off the list. I already have a quiet a few of those. Whoops, too late.) Let's not stuff down our feelings with food. Or hide our feelings by shopping. Let's note cope with distractions, events, responsibilities or addictions. Let's face what we are afraid of and embrace it. See it. Feel it. Say, "Hey, I don't want you anymore, but if you are going to stick around, let's learn to live together."

Let's love more. And I mean the hard doing of putting other people before our own wants and desires. This is a tricky one because frankly we live in a culture that encourages you to put yourself first. We have lost something as a people when we don't know how to lay down ourselves to love others. What does that look like for you? I have to figure out what that looks like for me.

Let's understand each other more and judge less. There is so much we don't know about each other. 

Let's work less in order to experience the richness of our lives.

Let's understand that pain is just a part of the deal. We can't ignore it, and we can't out run it. Depression is going to happen. We feel loneliness and abandonment. We will feel rejected and hurt. How do you cope with that? What helps you heal after those moments? Most important, how can you love the people around you who experience that when you aren't?

Most important, let's be a people after God's heart by keeping ours open. Let's not run away when things are hard. Let's not lock the door against Him when we don't understand. When we are afraid that we aren't enough or we really aren't worth the effort. When we have decided that our pain and our spiritual rejection is too much for God to condone, let us not turn our hearts away but towards the only one who can heal us. Let's remember that there is a God who has been greatly misunderstood and misinterpreted. That there is love in his words and his devotion to his people. We are his beloved and He is ours. Let's keep our hearts open to experience what He has for us, in joy and in pain. In health and in brokenness.

With open hearts we can embrace more. We are open minded. Our spirits are open to the happenings around us. With open hearts we are left with compassion and understanding. With open hearts we are left with the gift of hope. With open hearts...

Let's do life together friends. Encourage each other. See each other. Be kind to one another. Inspire each other. Be open with one another. Let's share our joy and pain this year and see how the story unfolds.

Because it's all about the story... 

(sorry I couldn't resist.)

For those who don't know, that's the name of my book. That's why it's funny. But I was told, if you have to explain the joke, it's not funny anymore. Well...now there's that I guess.