Monthly Archives: October 2014
Thanks to my amazing publisher, Revell, we’re going to do a fun little giveaway over the next week. Between now and next Friday, November 7 (the one month anniversary of Breathing Room’s release date!), head on over to Instagram and post a picture of you at your local Barnes & Noble with a copy of Breathing Room.
A randomly selected winner will win a $25 Barnes & Noble gift card! So fun.
I’ll announce the winner at 5:00pm PST on Friday, November 7. So you have a whole week to get yourself to Barnes & Noble and find Breathing Room and take a fabulous shot! Be sure to tag your photo using #BreathingRoomBN and my Insta handle @lmtankersley.
OK, ready, set, Instagram!!!
I got to hear so many voices and stories, all with different takes on and different experiences with hospitality. I got to thinking about how hospitality is like grace in so many ways—it’s an open door into an open space, filled with compassion and care. It’s saying “come on in” and “here’s a soft place to land” and “I see you.”
Shauna Niequist shared a particularly stunning line when she said, “Hospitality means when people leave your presence they feel better about themselves not better about you.”
Let that one sink in for a minute. Zinger.
I got to share a bit on Saturday, and I talked about how I’m learning—over and over again—the lesson that we must offer ourselves hospitality if we are ever going to authentically and vulnerably offer it to others.
And, if we are locked in an adversarial relationship with ourselves, well then, that’s the opposite of hospitality, isn’t it. Bullies aren’t hospitable. When we bully ourselves, we are saying: “Nope, there’s no grace here. This is a do-it-perfect-or-else kind of establishment, thank you very much.” See how that’s the opposite of hospitality?
For so many of us, our F.E.A.R. (Frantic Efforts to Appear Recovered) keeps us from being able to open the doors to our hearts and our homes fully. We are so locked in our need to feel OK and safe in the world, that we don’t yet have the capacity to offer that to others.
So our first step is to begin turning toward ourselves with compassion instead of turning on ourselves with contempt, and I really believe that as we offer ourselves hospitality, we will—without even trying—be able to offer hospitality to others much more genuinely. It will become WHO WE ARE instead of something we try to create on a table, in an oven, or with the help of a Pinterest board.
Does that make sense?
My invitation is to continue to nurture that very fleshy, human soul inside yourself. The one that runs on grace and not the Frantic Efforts to Appear Recovered. This is how we learn to become much more comfortable in our own skin . . . how we learn to receive God’s love more deeply and fully . . . and then, how we are able to join God in his work to make homes for the homeless (Psalm 68:6 MSG).
This might mean we need to write that letter of amends . . . to ourselves, forgiving ourselves for being human. Beginning again.
This might mean we need to pierce the membrane that’s formed around us and reach out toward some help and support . . . so that someone else can reach in and we can learn to live connected instead of isolated in our F.E.A.R.
This might mean we need to start caring so much more how it’s all feeling on the inside instead of how it’s all looking on the outside.
This might mean we need to slooooooow waaaaaaay dooooooown and breathe. Breathe. Breathe. (Like my dear friend Erica taught me: 4-7-8. Inhale for 4 counts, hold for 7 counts, exhale for 8 counts. Get full, deep, real breaths. All the way down into your stomach. Not the frantic panting we’re used to living on.)
This might mean we need to consult a guide: pastor, therapist, trained professional. You get my drift.
All of these thoughts were still very much with me this morning as I’m reflecting back on the conference and so many important and challenging ideas around hospitality. But this post is my take. We offer hospitality to a weary world because we have first offered it to ourselves, because we have first received it from Christ himself.
What does hospitality mean to you?
When have you experienced true hospitality?
How does someone make you feel welcome in their presence?
This Monday morning I’m reflecting on and recovering from a gloriously full weekend. The Flood Women’s event I wrote about last week was beautiful and soulful and as tender as it gets.
My sense is that so many of us want to begin telling a different story, want to begin living truer to ourselves. Our insides are congested and our souls are tight and we want someone to give us permission to begin doing things differently–to honor the struggle we’re feeling, to admit we’re overwhelmed, and to begin living in a way that’s more congruent to that soul voice that is longing for nourishment.
I’m always grateful for a room full of women who are nodding and, maybe even, ever-so-slightly teary at times. These women remind me that I’m not the only one who is tired of muscling through. I’m not the only one who turns on myself when I’m feeling overwhelmed. I’m not the only one who wants to build a less adversarial relationship with myself.
In my first talk on Saturday, I share about how we drown in the void of self-contempt. We know it’s not OK to bully other people, but have we really truly learned that it’s not OK to bully ourselves? Are we overtly or subtly turning on ourselves with unreasonable schedules, less-than-adequate rest, a refusal to get support or help? Or are we turning toward ourselves, nurturing ourselves, as mother would her child?
Everything we try to throw into the void of self-contempt–new pillows, tight pants, crazy diets, more more more, etc–is just consumed. There isn’t a “fix” out there that will solve our adversarial feelings toward ourselves.
It is God who saves us. And he saves us in weird, unexpected ways.
In my second talk, I talked about one of the ways God has saved me, through a sentence you’ve heard me write about over and over again . . . “Always we begin again” (Saint Benedict). I talked about how that mantra has saved me from buying into the fantasy-life and the huge sweeping ideals in my head (of how things should look, of how things should feel, of how things should be going, of how I should be more like her over there) and to, instead, put one foot in front of the other and begin again. In this perfectly imperfect life that is right here under my nose.
Forgiving. Starting over. Loosening the noose of self-contempt. Beginning again. Extending to myself the very same grace God extends to me, moment-by-moment-by-moment.
This weekend we also hosted a big going away party for dear friends who will be moving to Colorado. Tatum has been a part of My Group (the one I write about in Breathing Room) for years. As I said in front of all our friends at the party, Tatum is so easy to love. And she has loved me generously and vulnerably all these years, allowing me into her own journey and walking with me in real and meaningful ways as I have journeyed.
God has saved me through these women, through Tatum, over and over again. His truth is spoken in their words. His love is given in their presence. His grace is extended in their validation.
I believe more and more of us are looking for these kinds of relationships–places and spaces where we can show up in our fleshy humanity and be welcomed.
So my heart is full this morning, even if my eyes are, in fact, a bit puffier than usual. I’m drinking my water (and lots of coffee, let’s be totally honest). Breathing. Lighting a candle. Looking around my house at the remains of a big party and a sweet, sweet weekend full of old and new friends, full of pouring out and filling up.
I’m beginning again, because that is what we must do. And because of his grace, that is what we can do.
What is saving your life right now?
Here’s a bit more information:
I’ll be doing the two main sessions, talking about finding a greater sense of breath and space and grace in our lives. I’ll be sharing Scripture and personal stories that have been integral in my journey of experiencing breathing room.
We will also get the opportunity to hear from four of my dear friends who will be leading amazing workshops:
Wanida is a worship leader at Flood and a singer/songwriter and she’ll be talking about nurturing our creativity in the trenches of everyday, real life. She’s going to share about her own “creative story” and invite attendees to do the same — considering where we may have gotten stuck in our own expressions.
Linsey is a pastor at Flood and she’ll be teaching about and leading a beautiful prayer practice called the Welcoming Prayer. Sometimes we want to avoid “difficult emotions” but when we do that, they follow us, unattended. The Welcoming Prayer is a way we can turn toward negative feelings instead of praying for them to go away.
Erica is a professionally trained modern dancer and dance teacher. She’ll be talking about how we can find breathing room physiologically. She’ll share about listening to our bodies, breathing in a more nourishing way, and working with our bodies when we’re feeling stressed or anxious.
Elaine is a licensed marriage and family therapist and the founder and director of The Soul Care House. She’ll be talking about how to deal with situations when we are feeling triggered — when we have disproportionally big feelings about something without necessarily knowing why. She’s going to show us how to supervise our own feelings, identify our “historical stuff” that may be unresolved, and understand when and why we get triggered.
As you can see, this is a fierce lineup of workshop presenters. I’m thrilled to be partnering with them all. In addition, Wanida and Linsey will be leading us in a time of music and reflection that I know will be so very nourishing.
We hope you’ll consider attending!
Date: Saturday, October 18th
Time: 9am-12pm (check-in and breakfast 8:30am)
Location: Flood Office, 3878 Ruffin Rd, San Diego, CA 92123
Happy Friday, dear friends. I had a 3am wake-up this week where all I could think about was ebola and beheadings and my precious children going out into this gnarly, gnarly world. I don’t know where it all came from (and why it ALWAYS descends at 3am!) but there I was, ever-so-slightly overcome by all the evil, the Hard, the wrath.
It’s too easy to let it all bury me. Bury me alive.
And then I ask God to help me see a tiny sliver of light and to not let the fear and rage blind me. As I have said here before, I will not let despair be my bedfellow. It will not have the last word.
This week, I simply asked God to help me get back to sleep, and he did. And when I woke up the next morning, everything felt more manageable, which is often the case in the light of day.
Somehow, someway, a fragile bit of hope winged its way to me. I call that grace.
Hope allows for possibility when the brain vultures are screaming impossibility. Hope holds that tiny space for something to look or feel even the slightest bit different.
Hope means we’re still believing. And, we’re still breathing.
Here’s to hope.
All my love,
Every last one of us is on a journey that requires some courage now and then. Whatever we’re moving away from or toward, we all need reminders that the small steps matter. The most ungraceful, inching, fumbles really do make a difference if we’re showing up and participating in God’s work in our lives.
It’s going to be a big, gnarly mess sometimes. (I hate that.) But, here’s what I know:
God meets us on the road home. We are never, ever, making the journey alone. Our one part courage is met with a thousand parts God’s grace.
So today I’m banking on God and his broad grace, grateful that it’s never all up to me.