Most people don’t take trips without a destination in mind, right?!
… Except we do in our lives all the time. We call this life a journey but for the most part have no idea where we’re going, and we sure know how to get there.
At the Flaws, we are passionate about helping women who are #setapart and #settogether, #setout to fulfill their callings and finish their journeys strong, and that requires some careful planning, dependable tools, and a reliable compass in our backpacks so that we know where we’re going and how to get there.
Over the next 5 weeks, we’re going to load our travel backpacks with the foundational gear we need for our journeys together, which is ultimately to bring Change to you, her, and the world. In order to get there, however, we can’t skip over the all-important first step: Having the Courage to Make Connection with the one(s) you are traveling with!
Before we get started, if you haven’t already, you can catch up on last week’s podcast that kicked off our Trailblazing 5C Friendship Adventure here:
Are you ready now? Let’s go!
It All Starts With Courage
Courage: mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and
withstand danger, fear, or difficulty
It’s hard to think of anything in life that doesn’t require some level of courage. We need it to go to new places, try new things, meet new people, get married, have children, quit jobs, begin jobs, and the list goes on!
With that being the case, let’s take a quick, #flawed assessment on how you would rank yourself on the Courage Scale:
Beginner: No courage at all! I basically see life as a spectator sport (and by sport, I mean running away anytime I sense danger, fear, or difficulty)!
Intermediate: Volcanic eruptions of sporadic courageousness. I have bursts of courage, mixed with just as many bursts of doubt and disillusionment, and I never know which one is going to come out!
Expert: Even streams of courageousness. I am a Lion of Courage, no matter what I’m facing, most always and most days. There isn’t much I won’t face, and nothing I can’t endure!
Of course your level of Courage can and will change, depending on the circumstances. We may have great courage in some areas and hardly any in others!
The goal, however, is to become an Expert Level Courage Master in all situations so that, no matter how scary or damaging the conditions, we never waver when confronting them.
This is never truer than in situations of challenge and conflict with the ones closest to you.
One thing we know around here is that in the realm of the “Havar” kind of Friendship (when God aligns you with another to carry the weight of His assignments together), courage takes on a whole new level of meaning! It’s one thing to courageously confront injustice or chase a long-desired dream by yourself, but courage when it means having to trust someone else with your heart, dreams, and life—especially someone to whom you are not married—is a special kind of courage not for the weak, or uncourageous, of heart.
And this kind of Courage can only reveal itself in the waters of Risk.
T.S. Elliot wrote: “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”
It is one of the highest levels of Risk when God bonds us with another whose differences can (and will!) cause us pain and grief; it is much easier to connect with those who are similar to us than those who are different. But at least in our case, the courage to risk our vulnerabilities forces us to confront the strongest and weakest parts of ourselves so that our spirits are strengthened, the rough edges of our flesh are smoothed, and Christ-likeness and Love can rule and reign in our hearts and lives.
This takes Risk, friend, and a decided determination to not allow our differences to divide us by:
-Comparing our “Var” to people like us, which causes separation between us;
-Expecting our “Var” to be like us, which causes disappointment when she isn’t;
-Limiting what she can do with me and for me when I fail to see that our differences allow for greater expansion in both of us.
Trust Me, Var!
If you and your Var have made it this far, realizing that Courage and Risk go hand-in-hand and you’ve already decided they’re worth it, then you probably already know there is no path to Connection that doesn’t also involve Trust. The ability to trust, when you don't feel connection, takes an enormous amount of courage!
“Trust is the currency for all effective relationships,” says Charles Feltman, business author and coach. He defines trust as choosing to risk making something you value vulnerable to another person’s actions.
There is nothing more valuable to most of us than our time, talents, callings, and resources. It is one thing to trust God with them, but an entirely different animal when He says, “Now hand them over to her and I promise to keep them safe.”
To risk trusting each other with the things closest to our hearts, in all of our and her imperfections and limitations, really comes down to, “Do I trust God?” Even if we sink, even if we swim, can I and do I trust Him by trusting her?
In all transparency, we have both wrestled with this question to varying degrees, which tends to happen with two very spirited, sensitive, and slightly stubborn (on our good days) women. But at the end of the day, we knew that question must be answered with a courageous YES in order for us to scale the heights God has called us to together!
Even When You Don't Want To
“Human Connection is the exchange of positive energy between people. The potential of feeling understood and united through human connection is one of the most rewarding elements in life. It has the power to deepen the moment and the bond between people, inspire change and build trust.” (https://thepangean.com/The-Importance-of-Human-Connections)
Connection is a deeply felt, neurologically-based response that stimulates and makes happy our brains and hearts, but no two people feel or experience connection in the same way. Even though you may decide that Connection is worth the risk to get it doesn’t mean it will automatically happen. This is why it takes Courage and Trust to Make Connection—because it must be made.
The best way we know to connect as two distinct people with very different wiring is to be honest with what we need from the other. It’s not enough to say in general terms that connection means sharing our deepest thoughts and pain with the other. That can be one way, yes; but what conversation is to one of you may be what achieving a common goal together is to the other.
Personally, some of the biggest mistakes we have made in our friendship have been not paying attention to what the other needed in order to feel connected, while at the same time remaining silent about the disconnection we felt.
When silence or resentment replaces vulnerability and transparency, callings get abandoned over what could have been such a simple fix.
We need courage to connect to those we don’t always feel connected to—those we feel are too different to connect to because it seems like the puzzle pieces don’t fit. But we aren’t perfect, and we aren’t puzzle pieces. We are two people who can still take each other’s hands, and pray that we stay intact as we risk it all to have the Courage that Makes a Lasting Connection.
The Courage to Connect Challenge:
JOIN US ON FRIENDSHIP FRIDAYS
Join us on Podcast Episode #37, as we explore how to be courageous enough to risk being open and honest with what we need, in order to keep healthy ongoing connection in the face of our differences. SUBSCRIBE to the Podcast Here.
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-Tabatha & Stacey