Glowing accomplishments, mega successes, adorable photos, 2013 highlight reels are swirling around the internet. While they’ve been meaningful to read let’s look back at 2013 in a different light. What broke your heart? What moved you?
What is not okay with you?
Heart pangs well up for a reason and lead you to great purpose in loving and serving. Maybe it’s orphaned children, education, the care and keeping of our earth, human trafficking, homelessness, addiction, empty mailboxes, hungry neighbors, sad teens, a young mother with no place to wash laundry.
Mindful observation of what truly moves you is the place to begin forming hopes for 2014.
Although not without struggle 2013 was a beautiful and provision filled year for me. It began chaotically unsettled and came to a close with resounding peace. After reflection – it’s these four themes that entirely undo me:
There’s little else that breaks my heart like the sorrow of loneliness and lack of camaraderie. I’ve seen how feeling alone festers in some so long that it morphs into poor health, depression, desperation, and in some — suicide. That is not okay.
“I’ve never really had friends,” the 84 year old woman told me as she reached for cat treats on a grocery shelf too high and shared her life story. That people feel emptiness and experience friendlessness on a planet with 7 billion people is not okay with me.
I ache for the ones experiencing seasons of brokenness. Whether it’s painful divorce or relationship strain, children feeling unloved by their parents and vice versa, friends mis-aligned, pain passed on through generations, grudges kept or wounds inflicted, it affects me. Although it’s agonizing at times to be aware of fractured pieces of life in community it drives me to prayer for myself and for you.
I’m painfully conscious of the ways in which others, myself included, are not living in full health and joy — emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually. I see people chained to devastation and many who don’t even know where to begin healing the bruised and broken parts of their lives. I’m slowly escaping my addictions to comfort, safety, and perfectionism and know you might have a few chains to shake loose too.
I believe in healing. I believe in restoration. I’ve seen how God works miracles through my faithful and relentless prayer. In sparing the life of my mother from infection when I was in 6th grade and the life of my father after a car accident when I was in 9th grade, neither of which should have survived. In providing for each step of my life, joining me with an incredible husband, and igniting my passion for life well lived. In wrapping me with authentic friendships after he planted me in a new town.
Allen Hood talks a lot about, “Intellectualism devoid of the power of God.” There’s so much heady knowledge about Jesus out there in the church and on the streets. It often makes no difference in the lives of many — no wonder. It lacks the presence of God.
I don’t know what you believe about Jesus but there’s a simple meal involved in one of the stories I love about him. After his resurrection from the grave one of the last encounters with his friends was spent on a beach. He made a big fire cooked a few fish and some bread and said, “Come to breakfast.” That has to mean something. Instead of being some judgmental, unapproachable God, he’s sharing a meal with his friends at the edge of the water.
Being with people, being present, changes them. Living in community and sharing humble food will always have an impact if you let it.
What breaks my heart led to the creation of Kitchen Fellowship. This community is about gently pressing into hope and relentlessly moving toward wholeness. It’s about fellowship and restoration and the healing of what’s broken, one meal at a time.
Instead of charging ahead in 2014 to accomplish only lofty and self-serving goals, look at what’s not right with life that YOU have the gifts and power to fix. May your heart burn for what is good and right in this world and may you be alive in love.
***My post was inspired by the beautifully transparent year end post by Jessi Connolly.***