Safe spaces are built over time

At our last couples home group gathering I was sitting on the couch, across the room from Holly, who was leading us through a book that is an introduction to better understanding relationships through Enneagrams.  She stepped up as a leader and teacher in a way I haven’t ever seen her before.  It was probably the most engaged we’ve all ever been during a small group.  We tried to self-identify as we cast our votes for who was what as we read each of the descriptions aloud.

We laughed a lot.  

We also learned a lot.  I learned things about people in the group that I might have never learned sitting around the dinner table, without that book as the stimulus for conversation.  It also brought me new perspective and empathy to certain personalities.  As I sat there, I couldn’t help but want to capture this moment in time.  It was easy and fun.

But it also felt big.  

It felt like we started to break through barriers.  It felt like we creaked open the door to conversations that could lead us to beautiful places.  It felt a little bit messy, raw and real.  Because the Enneagram doesn’t just explain how you behave when you’re at your best.  It also highlights how you show up when you’re at your worst.

We all felt the sting of that.

It was like one minute there was this beautiful spotlight, highlighting all the wonderful things about you.  Then the very next minute, someone threw open your junk drawer, or your closet door, took a picture without warning (with the flash, of course) and posted that thing all over social media tagging it as representative of who you really are.  We all felt it together though.  Together, in a safe place, with friends who are committed to “doing life” together.

It was a beautifully messy conversation.  

Most of all, it made me notice how rare those kinds of conversations are, with groups of friends, certainly couple friends.  In groups, it’s easy to hide.  It’s easy to stay safely, up above the surface, and pretend the deep waters don’t exist at all, that everything is just fine. It’s easy to keep it clean, and family friendly all the time.

But it’s suffocating.  

It’s refreshing and life-giving when you make the decision not to hide.  I know how rare those safe spaces are to find.  But the secret is, you don’t find them, you create them.

You build them, over time.  

We’ve been meeting as a group for a while now, and this was such a good breakthrough for us.  We’ve talked and prayed about a lot of personal things, no doubt.  But this felt like a different level to me.  Now let’s be clear, there weren’t tears and gnashing of teeth.  There were just a few moments of self-realization when we called ourselves out and peeked behind the curtain, together.

It’s not earth shattering, but consistency in those places is life-changing.  

Where are you building safe places in our life?

Someone has to go first.  

Might as well be you.

to more love,Crystal

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