Wednesday, November 14, 2012

One True Thing from Jennifer Reynolds: You Are Enough

Okay, the truth: Jennifer Reynolds is about the most awesome person I've ever met in my entire life. She's my best friend. She's deeply committed to social justice. She can research some of the most harrowing details of human trafficking, and yet still manages to wake up every day and believe in hope, in love, in faith, and in fighting for a better world. Jennifer is the kind of person who dances with her four-year old son in the ancient ruins of Barnard Castle in the Yorkshire Dales. Jennifer is the kind of person who whip up an original, incredibly tasty soup from scratch. Jennifer is the kind of person who brings a book like The Sunflower Sword to life. And Jennifer is the kind of person whose pilgrim soul is ever on thew lookout for new possibilities, new ways of growing and changing both herself and the world around her. So I am beyond honored and excited and over the moon to have my wife share her One True Thing today.

You Are Enough
By Jennifer Reynolds

When Luke asked me to write my thoughts for “One True Thing” I laughed: not because I thought he was joking, not because I didn't want to, and not because I don’t know any true things. I laughed because it made me nervous to narrow down my thoughts and construct something interesting and original (especially within the “paragraph or two” suggested length!). But there was also something else, and it was a subtle sense that anything I came up with could never be just right or worthy of posting “out there”. It’s a battle I have faced for a long time, and it is one that I believe is shared by many others. It is a battle I have tried to put to words and have often come up short. You see, I love to write, to create, to research and to engage with social justice issues. And yet, it is when I am actually trying to pursue these ventures that make my little heart beat so fast that I feel most inadequate. It has left me puzzled time and time again.

So where does this leave me with sharing “one true thing”? Recently, I watched Dr. Brene Brown’s TED talks on vulnerability and shame, and felt something click. As she eloquently suggests in these lectures, there is power in imperfection and letting go of control. There is power in retraining our minds to think more about our passions, our gifts, and the blessings all around us rather than what other people think about our actions and decisions. There is power in recognizing that who we are is a gift in itself, and it is not egotistical, arrogant or self-centered to love ourselves (which is not the same thing as putting ourselves on a pedestal above others; rather, it is treating ourselves with kindness, compassion, patience and grace). This is essential if we ever hope to fully love others. And it starts with seeing and believing one true thing: I am enough. You are enough. We are all worthy of love and belonging…just as we are.

(For a brief talk from Dr. Brown on her book, The Gifts of Imperfection, see this clip which was featured on PBS: