I have been loving American Pickers lately. Thank you Netflix for allowing me to binge watch an entire season of a show in just weeks. (Yes it took me weeks. I’m old and try to go to bed at a decent time.) When I first began watching, I didn’t really care for the show. Yet, as I continued watching I was struck by the way the people selling their “treasures” enjoyed having Mike and Frank take a look around. These are strangers. Complete strangers. Yet here they were, being welcomed into their homes. I just couldn’t understand it.
After about 9 or 10 episodes, I realized what it was. These people. These people wanted to be known. They were eager to be understood. To have someone, even a stranger, enter into their home. Their space. Their world. And to know them. To know them with their mess, with their too much. To see them for who they are. The messy and the beautiful. The vulnerable and the honest. To know them without judgement. Not for their “junk,” their mess. But for them. Even if that included their too much.
When the Pickers would finally depart, the exchange was often heartfelt. It was incredible really. These people, just moments ago complete strangers, had become friends. They were known. Really and truly. Deeply known. Their stories were heard. They were understood. They were seen. And they were slow to say goodbye. Mike and Frank had become part of their community. Their identity. Simply by entering in. They had come into their world and were forever welcomed back into it, the next time they are passing by.
OUR LEGACY: COMMUNITY
What an amazing legacy. To be the people that enter someones world and truly see them. Truly see them for who they are and who they are growing into. To be the person that is given access to a friends story. To their life, their mess, their world. I am sure it comes as no surprise that I love community. I blog about it’s importance (it made it’s way into my very first post), and I recently included it as one of the important lessons I have learned in marriage. And this. This is why. I want to be that person. That person that intentionally creates community with those around me. I want to be a safe person, someone that can encourage others. Someone that is vulnerable, open, honest and encourages others to be that way as well.
I have been thinking about this, about our stories since watching this show. And then one day, a few weeks ago I was sitting, chatting with a friend, part of my community. I told her some insecurities I was feeling. Battling. They were silly, but real. And then I simplified it all to one thought.
I desire to be known. To be liked. By, well, everyone. I know. It’s crazy. But really. I don’t want to be liked, like on the surface. I want to be deeply known. To be understood. To be seen for who I am. Who I am becoming.
Have you felt the same way? Do you want to be known? Are you yearning to tell your story? To share who God is making you to be. To share the messy and the grace. The beauty in it all.
DARE TO BE KNOWN
Well friend, if you feel the same way, can I encourage you — we were made to be known! We were designed to live in community. Not a community that just knows our name. No. We were made for a deep-seeded community. One that really and truly knows us. Our heart. One that encourages and walks with one another through life. A community that reminds us of God’s grace, mercy, and glory when we falter. One that shows us The Way. Honestly, we need a community that reaches out and knows us. Sees our heart, our mess, our mistakes. And loves us anyway.
Being known. Sharing your story. They bring freedom to be you. To be brave. It allows the space to grow. But not just to grow. To flourish. To come fully and truly alive. Community can give you the courage to embrace who you are, who you were made to be. And oh dear friends, that is one of the greatest gifts we can give.
So today. Today, can I challenge you? Find time to sit with a friend. Listen to their story. Enter into their world. Their life. Let them be brave. Encourage them to be brave. And then, I encourage you to take that risk too. Enter into community. Share your story. Your heart. But whatever you do, please do not wait for community to find you. Be intentional. Be brave. Risk wildly. And dare to be known. It’s messy and hard. But it is oh so worth it. When you find that community, you will find it to be a place where you can be fully alive. And free to flourish.