“We can’t be brave in the big world without at least one small safe space to work through our fears and falls.”  ~Brene Brown


My Monday Night Girls make up one of my small, safe places.  This spring, we are reading and discussing “Rising Strong” by Brene Brown.

Her prior book, “Daring Greatly” explores the courage to be vulnerable and take risks.  “Rising Strong” acknowledges the reality that the willingness to be courageous and vulnerable does not guarantee success.  In fact, the opposite is true.  “If we are brave enough, often enough, we will fail.  Rising Strong is about what it takes to get back up.” (Brene Brown)

Our weekly conversations about this book have been so good, continually directing my heart and my mind to meditate on Grace.

Grace from God, with ourselves, and grace with others.

Grace is powerful because it removes the burdens of regret, guilt, and shame.  It’s the gift of freedom.  Freedom from being defined and stuck in our weaknesses, traumatic experiences, or failures.

Authentic encounters with grace changes us.

Something I’ve realized is that the blessing of grace from our communities cannot work it’s magic apart from vulnerability.  We can’t fully receive freedom from the shame of our failures if we’ve never been honest with our people that we have been wounded or fallen short.

I believe in privacy and protecting our stories from gossip and gawkers.  I think we should be wise and discerning about who we open up and entrust our hearts to.  But within those boundaries we also need to create safe spaces with a few people where we can be real.  So that the people who truly know us – at our best and our worse – can remind us that we are enough.

Enough to be loved, cherished, and valued – regardless of our mistakes and misfortunes.

This is one of the most significant reasons why I believe that we need to be developing authentic community in our lives.  Fun social groups can form haphazardly.  But the sacred connections of true community require intention –  the continual showing up to a safe space to be real and vulnerable, with an openness to both giving and receiving grace.

Developing an authentic community takes time.  The key is to keep showing up.  And to keep holding space to be real.  Not showing up with only a smiling face.  But with the truth of our hearts, the longings of our souls, and the questions, doubts, and fears that lurk in our minds.

Because few things in this world are as comforting and healing as some one we trust saying, “Me too” or “I love you anyways” after we’ve shared something ugly, hard, and vulnerable.

Engaging honestly with our community moves relationships from social to authentic so that we can give and receive the transformational gift of grace.

Published by Wendy Kessler

The table is my favorite place to gather. It is where family & friends are nourished by good food and good conversation, as the sacred and the ordinary intersect over meals served daily.

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