A few weeks ago I went to a dinner party.
Now, before I continue with my story, let me just tell you that I do not do well at dinner parties.
Or birthday parties.
Or team parties, baby showers, get-togethers, or pretty much any event where social interaction is expected.
Seriously. I don’t know how to handle myself.
I’m just a dork.
So what I have decided is that the thing that works best is when I take on the role of The Good Listener.
I stumble through the introductions, and then quickly ask questions that will get the other person talking, while I just listen and nod.
Have you ever seen the episode of Friends where Ross over-bleaches his teeth and spends the whole time on a date hardly speaking just so he doesn’t open his mouth?
Yeah. That’s me.
Except without the weird teeth-bleaching thing.
So back to my story.
I was at this dinner party, and I was Listening.
But rather than listening to small talk or inconsequential details, I was listening to someone share her heart. She was brave, and honest, and allowed me to hear her story.
And as she was sharing, she said something that struck me to the core. In fact, she vocalized thoughts and feelings that I had been wrestling with for years.
As she was talking, I’m not sure what I did, but something in my expression changed. She looked at me, and nodded.
“You too?” she asked.
“Me too,” I answered.
And in that moment a friendship was forged. She knew that it wasn’t just her. And I knew that it wasn’t just me.
And that knowledge is awesome.
Rather than just listen, I also shared. We encouraged one another, and continue to encourage and challenge one another.
About a year ago my dear friend and fellow author, Craig Bowler, talked to me about an idea that he had for a book. He was going to take a bunch of his friends and ask them to respond to one simple sentence:
I am the one Jesus loves.
I was intrigued. Immediately. Because as I thought about that sentence, I had a wide range of reactions.
I still do.
After compiling his friends’ stories and weaving them together, Craig sent me the draft and asked if I would be willing to endorse the book. I went and set up a workspace at my local Starbucks, and began to read.
Before long, tears were streaming down my face. Because as I read the stories of these courageous people, all I could think of was, “It’s not just me.”
And I can guarantee you this: It’s not just you.
Here is the endorsement I wrote for the book, and a link to where you can get it.
You won’t regret it.
“When we are really honest with ourselves, we realize that deep down at the core of our being, in the places we don’t like to acknowledge or share with others, is the longing to be chosen. We want to be important. We want to matter. We want to be loved. Craig Bowler tackles this desire head on in his latest book, I am the One Jesus Loves. With his signature style of bold truth and refreshing honesty, Craig weaves together the stories of 24 different people as they wrestle with the reality of one simple sentence: I am the one Jesus loves. The stories are real, raw, and at times brutal. Some are encouraging and uplifting, while others will break your heart. However, as you join Craig and his friends on their journeys, you start to see the delightfully messy hope that comes with realizing that you, yes you, are the one Jesus loves. No matter what.”
See you soon.