community

got girlfriends? how the january gg went

got girlfriends? how the january gg went

Last Wednesday’s Grace Gathering was a joy: the coffee shop, the women, and the topic. This month we gathered around the theme, Got Girlfriends? How to navigate the tricky waters of where to find ‘em, how to keep ‘em, and when to let ‘em go. Yup, it’s a mouthful, and it made for intriguing stories and discussion.

We started the evening with Lynn Beaver’s story of what she’s learned about friendship in recent years. With a job as a professional listener, she’s discovered that one of the things she desires most is personal friends who ask about her and then listen. That resonated with all of us! Haven’t we each had (or occasionally been) that friend who only talks about herself? Yeesh!

I shared a story, too, about losing a best friend, what God continues to teach me about letting go, and how He (thankfully!) never leaves us friendless.

The stories were great, but the icing on the cake was the discussion. I was intrigued by the sharing and the deep thoughts swirling around the room. What a treat to ponder big questions together:

  • Where do you find good friends?
  • What if you’re the only one investing in the relationship?
  • How do you know when it’s time to let a friendship go?

The conversation flowed as we talked about everything from toxic friendships to how to know if someone’s safe to having “the talk” with a friend. (Yeah, that last one’s not just for guy/girl romantic interests, we figured out. How crazy is that!)

friends for lifeSitting with our coffees, sharing little stories of friendship and the things we’ve wondered about it, we found that we are more alike than we knew. We women are created for community, and we crave the good kind. All of us want more friends, need to let some go, or hope to maintain the ones we have.

Oh, we didn’t stumble over any instant solutions or pat answers. But when God-loving hearts and great minds meet together in authenticity, the exploration is so much fun, and we definitely had fun exploring and saw God there too.

I walked away pondering the values we’d discussed:  honesty, vulnerability, authenticity, depth, listening, security, loyalty. And I marveled again at what can happen in a safe, grace place like the one we created together. This story a woman told me as she said goodbye kinda sums it all up.  She’d had to leave work early to make it to GG and was so tired she almost didn’t come. But she was so glad she did! “It’s not often that you go somewhere tired, and leave feeling better and more inspired than when you came. That happened tonight!”

Yay for grace environments, great discussions, and new friends!

Wanna come to the next Grace Gathering?

If you’re a woman who lives in or near Denver, you’re invited to our monthly Grace Gatherings! As of this blog post, the next one is:

WHEN: Wednesday, February 13
TOPIC: Confidence
TO EXPLORE: How do we grow some? What does true confidence look like? What’s the difference between owning it and being cocky?

The scoop on upcoming GG’s

Posted by Janna Wright in grace changes everything, 0 comments
carrots or kelp? why people don’t always get you

carrots or kelp? why people don’t always get you

I have a not-so-secret obsession.  I’ve tried to stop, but I can’t. I am compelled to collect words — especially quotations. There’s just something about stumbling over a thoughtful phrase that perfectly describes something I know to be true (and could never say as prettily) that thrills my little heart!

Here’s a recent favorite:

I complained about this recently to a friend,
this disconnect between who we are and how
others perceive us. I said: “The trouble is,
I’m a fish, but everyone thinks I’m a rabbit.”

The friend just looked me in the eye and said:
“Then why do you surround yourself with people
who can only give you carrots?”

(from I Knew You’d Be Lovely by Alethea Black)

Rabbit or Fish Moment

I had a carrot vs. kelp moment not too long ago. It was a wintry Tuesday night, and I was sitting in a metal chair in a drafty basement, surrounded by a crowd of women.

It was a community choir rehearsal, and our regular director was out of town on a much-needed vacation. So, a visiting conductor was leading. You only had to listen to him for a minute to tell this was a jolly man who knew music well, longed for us to love it like he did, and aimed to create “community” as well as “choir” with his rehearsals.

Before warm-ups he had the idea that we should introduce ourselves and share the last piece of music we’d listened to.

I was seated about two-thirds of the way through the group, and as the introductions began, the entire room turned into a Reality TV Voting System. When one person announced her music choice, some voices would agree, others would titter or comment, and the collective ooh’s and aah’s rose and fell based on how “acceptable” the piece was.

My cheeks grew warm, and I fidgeted as I waited for my turn because:

  1. I hate “judge” situations and try to avoid them as much as possible.
  2. My every day allows for little music listening, and I was having a hard time remembering the last piece I’d heard.

My turn came, and after I said my name, I blurted out “Pandora” (partly because it was the truth, and partly because I felt a little bit rebellious). The room grew quiet, and the director blinked at me blankly for a few seconds before nodding pseudo-enthusiastically and moving on.

Changing the Lenses

When I think of this silly, small event, I’m drawn back to the carrot quotation. In that moment, sitting in the metal folding chair, it dawned on me that many of the people in that room saw life a certain way – through a Music-Is-Ultra-Important lens. And while I used to wear those glasses too (like when I was taking 15 years of piano lessons, winning state competitions, earning my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in fine arts, doing music ministry in church every Sunday, singing in traveling groups, soloing in a women’s ensemble), I’ve taken them off.

I value other things now. Not because I suddenly hate music or anything — just because I know myself better today. Now I know more things I truly love, know who I am, know clearly what I’m created and called to do.

horse and carrotDo you ever feel like the people around you just don’t get you? That maybe
you view life from a far different vantage point than they do?
Are you ever confused about why people keep handing
you carrots when you’re a radiant angel fish?

You should never have to convince yourself you love orange with stripes when turquoise with bubbles is more your style. No one deserves to be force fed. That’s why knowing who you are and what you want are so important.

You are marvelously, intricately created by the Greatest Designer in the world who’s never made a mistake on any of His works of art. Maybe it’s time to swim out to sea a little? Find a new circle or two? Or perhaps take some time to sit and ponder what you really love and who you truly are.

That’s one of the first steps of living a true adventure story – discovering who you are then surrounding yourself with people who support you in being the best you possible.

(Psst… pass the kelp, please.)

Posted by Janna Wright in Discovering My True Identity, grace changes everything, 0 comments
Created for Community

Created for Community

I bet you a bag of Doritos I can tell you one of your life’s purposes without ever reading your strengthsfinder results.

Sure, I sound a little presumptuous, but it’s not a hard one. (And I really love Doritos.)

You were created for community.

How do I know? Because I was too. And so was your best friend, and your mom, and your favorite high school teacher. We are each wired to crave and enjoy deep relationship with others. Continue reading →

Posted by Janna Wright in Discovering My True Identity, 0 comments
creating a change in the atmosphere

creating a change in the atmosphere

Did you know you’re a grace carrier? Yes, you. You who’s been captivated by Jesus and His great love. You who’s tumbled head over heels into Great Grace.

Now you carry Him with you everywhere every day.

You are an army of one, learning to live out the health, beauty and freedom of enjoying Jesus deeply.

It’s contagious you know, this grace. Before you know it, it starts to change the atmosphere.

That’s my prayer for each of us as partakers of grace – that we’d create contagious environments of grace right where we are.

Janna, Grace Giver

Posted by Janna Wright in grace changes everything, 1 comment
because everyone needs a friend to dig in the mud with

because everyone needs a friend to dig in the mud with

One of my grace friends sent me these words not too long ago.

When I was a child I was fascinated at the idea of finding gold or buried treasure and dug for it in my back yard.  

Now I am finding [grace] treasure and nuggets often, as you are!  

Oh the muddy mess the process has been at times. Oh so worth it, though.

So here we are finding treasure, and let me tell you, it really helps to have a grace friend to dig around with.

Continue reading →

Posted by Janna Wright in grace changes everything, 0 comments