“To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us.”
― Timothy J. Keller
I have given a lot of thought to what it means to provide safe spaces for people. If you can think of even one person in your life that you feel emotionally and physically safe with, you are one lucky human in the big scheme of things. I see being a safe space to mean allowing people to show up exactly how they are, celebrating and choosing to see the best in them. In order to be a safe place for someone else, I have learned personally to be a safe place for myself first. We can only meet people at the level in which we have met ourselves- if we haven't forgiven our own shortcomings and flaws, how can we make room for anyone else's? If we are consistently hyper critical of ourselves, we are practicing how to be hyper critical of others. When you extend grace to them, you inadvertently extend grace back to yourself.
That to me is a beautiful concept- the more grace you give, the more grace you receive, the more room there is to grow into your best self.
However, after taking a trip to Chicago with my mission church to help cultivate these "safe spaces" that promote inclusivity of all creeds, genders, races, walks of life, etc; I expanded on that thought. Someone in this mission church meeting mentioned "Courageous Spaces," which to them meant a place where people could not only show up, but could challenge themselves and others in healthy ways.
I took that lesson home with me. I realized that being a safe space is important, but being a courageous space is necessary. It is having the ability to participate in hard conversations when needed with compassionate love and understanding. Responding in love rather than in fear. Giving someone space to speak when it's easier to shut them down.
Being part of a courageous space is giving yourself the opportunity to explore your needs and emotions with the people around you and trusting that they will hear you with benefit of the doubt and curious, open hearts. It is then providing them the very same in return.
It's good to expose what you need no matter how much your voice shakes; those who reject you aren't the right fit anyways, and people who are worth keeping close will gravitate towards you and add depth to your life unparalleled.
- Brittany, xo
Daily Dad Joke #6:
My grandpa has the heart of a lion!
... and a life time suspension from the local zoo.