Thursday, March 19, 2015

Uniquely Beautiful Together

My mom has several awards of recognition from her professional life. They are these hand blown glass tear-drop things. And she has four. To look at them as individuals they all look the same. Clear, pear-shaped with little air bubbles trapped in their core. But when you line them up, side by side, you can see the inconsistencies.

One is tall and almost a perfect tear-drop but it has more air bubbles than the shorter one beside it that leans slightly. The shortest one is bottom heavy but has the most interesting shaped air bubble right at its core and the fourth one is a perfect cross section of the other three but with three bubbles stacked neatly on top of each other. Individually they all looked the same but lined up together you can see the unique beauty in each of these ornaments.

We are just like these wee drops of glass.

A couple of weeks ago, I stepped out on a limb and applied to be part of my 'friend' Jen Hatmaker's launch team. She has a new book coming out in August (For the Love) and she invited her blog followers to apply to be one of 500 lucky gals who would receive an advance copy of her new book so that they might use their social media presence to promote the pants of her book. I, sadly, was not chosen … and neither were 4500 other Lovelies.

It was disappointing but not earth shatteringly so. I received my consolation prize of four (FABULOUS) sample chapters and was prepared to move on. But then this thing happened. The Unchosen took to twitter and began tweeting with the hashtag #The4500. And then they created a Facebook group. And then more than 400 of the 4500 joined the group. And then we got to know one another. We shared snippets of our own life stories, we shared blogs, we shared our love for Jen. It was awesome!

And then something wanky started to happen. We were all their, beautiful in our own individuality, yet now lined up side by side. The comparison thing started to happen. A few Lovelies felt 'less than' for not being chosen as one of the 500, a few felt "not a funny" as others … not as popular, not as experienced, not as deep. Some felt messy, chaotic and undeserving. Others elevated Jen to an impossible-to-maintain position of greatness (don't get me wrong, love me some Jen Hatmaker but she IS just a regular gal after all).While there was much love in this wee band of Jen fans there was also a lot of insecurity beginning to surface. And just when I was feeling uncomfortable and contemplating stepping out of the group our gal-pal, Jen stepped in.

A couple of days ago Jen popped into the group and tok in some of the threads. Like I said, much of what is one this page is funny, kind, uplifting and community building but there were also some very disappointed folks (me included, I may or may not have consumed more Jolly Ranchers than necessary following the Unchosen email) who were questioning their worth. This is what Jen had to say …

"Morning, friends! We are almost at the 400 member mark! All the feels.
You know what? Let me tell you what you are NOT: You are not the "B Team" or "Junior Varsity" or "the rejects." And you don't have to declare that "you will be heard." You already ARE heard! You are already amazing in your place. Your influence is as strong and powerful as it ever was.
The whole message of For the Love says there is not a better than or less than in our community. WE ARE ALL IN. Honestly? For me, there is really no "launch team" and "the rest of us." We are all on the same team. We really are. We are ALL for grace and community and courage and love. We are all reading parts or all of the book in advance. We are all IN THIS TOGETHER. This is not a tribe of scarcity. There is enough to go around, and every last one of us is ENOUGH.
So no more B Team talk. You are my A TEAM. I adore you! I adore this sweet community forming! I am so grateful for every encouraging, kind, funny thing you have said to me and each other. What a joy you are! Let's stand up together and take our you, sisters!"

And this is why I love her! This is the message of her heart … and it is the message of mine as well.

We have been designed as individuals and the purpose in coming together is not to point out our flaws or short comings but to highlight how uniquely beautiful we each are. Alone we may appear 'just like everyone else' but it's in Together that we see how our individuality compliments the uniqueness in others. We are in this together … we are in Together. Together.

Uniquely beautiful together!

Let’s just say amongst ourselves that we will silence the bossy, mean voice telling us to BE MORE AWESOME and instead we will obey the other nudges, the ones that lead us to love and life and peace and generosity and God and people and rest and gratitude.
~Jen Hatmaker

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