Join me for a picnic!

Hey! You! Who’s your circle? Your…”peeps”? (For lack of better terms…and I don’t say ‘Peeps’ because it’s right after Easter, either.)

But for real, who are YOUR people? Do I mean ‘work’ friends? ‘Church’ friends? ‘Under water basket weaving club’ friends? ‘You-name-it’ friends? Yes. THOSE EXACTLY.

Name them and see their faces. See your laughter and hilarious and precious and incredible moments with them. Even the harder moments, but the moments that make you grow. Yes–THEM.

Now, see the face of the one {or two} standing just outside your circle. They may not always be longingly looking in to your amazing spot, but they are looking. And sometimes, they ARE looking for a spot–with friends or {and} family. And boy are they needing a touch from someone who genuinely cares about them. They’re always there–the one or two that need a touch from you, the circle-portal-carrier. ‘They’ are incredible. Sometimes weird. But ALWAYS there, and needing an invitation from YOU to be in YOUR circle. Won’t you invite them in? Even if it’s a one-time simple fast food dinner invite? If they stick, great. If not, pray for them. Either way–if you’re a circle-portal: ETERNALLY awesome.

I am writing this from the standpoint of a bird in a branch. Looking down on a wonderful picnic that’s happening right below my beak. I am seeing these beautiful humans with their picnic blankets and their baskets full of Boars Head meat sandwiches and all sorts of fresh fruits and veggies and dips. They are laughing and working together to make this incredible picnic on this perfect day in April. It’s not rainy: but absolutely gorgeous weather. The sun is shining and the grass is greener than a Mountain Meadow green Crayola crayon. That’s actually a color name–I Googled it! I see all kinds of potentially amazing moments below. The moment is so full of promise. In the middle of all of this, I fly to another branch and turn my head. I see the bystander. They’re not on the picnic blanket, per se. They are the onlookers of this grand ole time, and looking for somewhere to fit. Sometimes, these bystanders will plant themselves away from the picnic blanket–other times, they will be across the field NOT on purpose–just from rejection or shyness or what have you. Will you, picnic person, invite others onto your blanket  no matter what? Will you be that person who invites them in? All they need is a portal, and who knows–once they feel they have a place on your blanket,  they may shine the brightest once they’re on board. Some you’ll have to ask to leave, but most people will be just fine as they’re a part of your picnic. (Life is FULL of inevitables).  Just WELCOME them and use good judgement from there.

Don’t get me wrong: we all need our exclusive picnic-holders. You’ve got to have those few that ‘iron-sharpens-iron’ with.  We ALL do. In other words, your circle within a circle. Those few who are constants. They’re the ones who you don’t have to think twice about texting or calling with exciting news/or a crisis with. Or inviting to a party or dinner with. You may also have a hybrid-circle, and that’s totally cool! Sometimes, it’s a tricky business having some there and some here. Sometimes it’s not. But there are those who will sharpen the snot out of you and you say YES. Sharpen away! There are some who you have because they are so amazing and you want them around because you see them and their incredible value. And simply–you ENJOY them and time with them is time well spent.

I heard an incredible message recently about being intentional about hanging out with folks who don’t look like you. Often times, it’s a natural thing to gravitate towards those who are our clones in our wardrobes, hair styles, jobs, family structures, etc. However, there’s so many incredible fellow humans we miss the shot at getting to know because they don’t immediately entice us. But…is it about us? Or others?

If you’re reading this and are starting to hyperventilate with even the thought of talking to someone you haven’t met before and cultivating a new relationship: KNOW THIS!! Yes! It’s scary. DO IT ANYWAY. Take that step. If you get shot down, at least you tried. Even if all you have to relate to is pizzas and lattes, do it! Talk to them about having a place to fit: Because you love God, love His people. I PROMISE you that there’ll be a place to put them (and who knows! They may eventually become a very close friend of your’s). In the mean time, I hope we’ll all grow in learning how to be the hands and feet of Jesus and literally inviting these souls on our blankets. As awkward and interesting as it may be at times. Trust me, I know! Hahahaha. I have had my fair share of “moments” with interesting people. 

I do want to quickly address this: If you are reading this and you are that picnic bystander longing for friendship: Speak up! I know it can be so intimidating. You may have been rejected before and hurt by others. Don’t let your fear of what happened in the past dictate your future friendships! Don’t do it. It’s actually a form of pride–Don’t give it place! Break those walls down little-by-little. You’ll be so glad you did!

Thank you for linking arms with me on this! I challenge you to talk to someone new (or a regular bystander) this week–and BONUS if you make plans with them. I’d love to hear how it goes!!

“Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.” –Helen Keller



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