Recently, I attended a craft night hosted by one of the young women in my Sunday school class at church. We perused Pinterest a couple weeks beforehand to nail down exactly what materials we needed to get and mentally prepare for the struggle it would be for some of us non-crafty people. The craft we had decided to attempt to replicate was a beautiful sled ornament. The supplies necessary to carry out the challenge were simple. We needed some popsicle sticks, string, paint, and mini holiday looking decorations. Easy enough.
Being still new to the area, even six months later, I was hesitant to engage and go to this craft night. There is something about putting yourself out there that is incredibly scary and even for this social butterfly is not something that comes easily. However, I showed up. Did I go through several excuses of why I shouldn’t? Yes. My brain decidedly went through every option that made logical sense of why I shouldn’t go. I have a job that I have to get up for or there is the laundry to be done. I even asked my husband if he wanted me to stay home. None of those excuses worked because the honest to goodness truth is that I knew, as hard as it was, that I needed to show up if I ever wanted to conquer my fear of putting myself out there. And the Lord knew it too.
I am not sure what the weather has been like everywhere else, but Kansas hasn’t made up its mind on whether our fall season has ended or if we have transitioned into winter, given the newly fallen snow on our lawn. But for the past few days the wind has whipped bitterly and the cold has been piercing. So, I bundled up in my heaviest coat and my friend and I drove to the host’s house to make our sled ornaments.
So as my friend and I drove to this other young woman’s house, I felt the nerves start to build. What if this was a mistake? The all-to-familiar feeling of loneliness and fear started to swarm over me. But then we showed up at the door of this young woman’s home. She smiled ear to ear to see my friend and I standing with our bags of muffins and cookies ready to be devoured by whomever decided to come.
We stepped inside the door frame and headed toward the kitchen where the crafting would be taking place. After discussing the latest news about football, soccer, and basketball, we ventured toward the table and broke out the paint and supplies.
The night was full of laughter, muffin crumbs and painted/glued together fingers. It was a night to remember. And I realized that something greater than a craft was happening. It was an invitation into friendship. And in the moments between the hot glue gun fiascoes and the giggles of how our sleds looked in comparison to what the picture looked like, I felt the barriers of being the “new” girl begin to crumble. And I would have missed it if I had never shown up.
And you wanna know what else is funny? I wasn’t the only one who showed up and put themselves out there. The other two girls showed up and took a chance. They could have been battling the same excuses, but they showed up. So as my friend and I gingerly gathered up our sleds, I felt an overwhelming blanket of thankfulness cover me.
God gave me the opportunity, through the vulnerability and invitation of others, to show up and experience friendship in a time where I most desperately needed it.
My little, red sled with its pretty white dusted pine cones and shiny, gold bells rests on the mantle of my fireplace as a reminder that putting yourself out there isn’t something that needs to be feared, its something that, if we are willing, gives us some of the greatest gifts and blessings.
We all struggle in some way, shape or fashion to take that step or sometimes that jump to show up. There will be days were we are more readily to do it and others where we simply won’t want to. But what if we dug a little deeper and discovered the “why’s” of our not wanting to show up. Is it a bunch of excuses that literally have no reason as to why you can’t attend a craft party? Is it a fear of being rejected? Is it just plum laziness? I can’t answer any of that for anyone but myself. But in my moment of showing up, I was given a chance for friendship with others that I didn’t deserve.
Maybe its your turn to show up. I don’t know what it is. I don’t know what it requires. But maybe someone else today needs to get over the fear of putting themselves out their and showing up.
I just recently read a quote from Lysa Teurkerst that encapsulated in two sentences how I should view this aspect of showing up. She says: “Let’s cry out to God, declaring that this hard time will be a holy time, a close-to-God time. And let’s choose to believe that there is good happening, even in these places. Because wherever God is, good is being worked.”
Because wherever God is, good is being worked. How profound and true. In whatever way God shows you to step out or show up today, choose to let His goodness work in and through you.
“The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.” Psalm 145:18