Posts Tagged ‘community’

Lately, I have been experiencing more and more people who are exhausted from maintaining their own lives. Our culture has been stuck in this mentality that we need to have our lives in order; we need to be presentable people.

This culture’s mentality permeates every area of our lives. We have heard people say phrases like, “I will go to church when I get my life in order,” or “I am too much of a mess for friendships.” Maybe not those phrases specifically, but something similar.

We are broken people who all have scars and wounds. We all have fears and insecurities. The truth is that there is not enough glue in the world for us to keep it all together. It’s exhausting to try. I know I fail so much when I try to hold all of my pieces in place.

There is a man in the gospel of Matthew who has redefined what approaching God looks like for me. Matthew retells the story of a time when a man with Leprosy approached Jesus. He kneeled down before Jesus and asked him for healing.

I was taken aback by the counter-cultural act of authenticity by this community reject. This leper was a man ostracized from his community and family. He was tossed out of his city and home to live among other people like himself. Lepers were considered unclean. This man was quarantined as an outsider sent to wait on death.

This leper saw hope in Jesus. He left behind what he had been labeled as and approached the cleanest of men. He saw a clean man who could make him clean, and the unapproachable approached Jesus. By cultural standards, this man was labeled as too far gone to be helped.

This man has shown me the truth of what presentable really looks like.

You see Jesus came to save the people who knew they needed it. He did not come to save the ones who “had it all together.” My heart looks like this man. The truth is all of our hearts look like a version of the leper. That is the perfect time to approach God.

We are messy people. I am finally getting better at putting down the glue that is not working. No one is presentable enough. That is the point. The church is for the mutually messy hearted people. The church is formed because of people who mutually bring their messiness before the one who saves.

This leper brings even more resounding truth to the verse, “at just the right time when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. But god demonstrates his love for us in this; while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Christ did not wait until we were a people who had the right glue. He did not wait until we were presentable enough. Christ came in the midst of our powerless moments; he came in the midst of our sin. He touches our hearts and says, “I am willing.”

Christ came for the broken and wounded while they were still in that place. He came for the hopeless in the midst of their hopelessness, not after. Christ came for the “in the midst.

I am kneeling my messy heart before him and claiming that as presentable enough.

Do you try and hold it all together? Why?

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eye heart

I remember in high school when my crush talked to me for the first time in the hallway. I remember what it felt like to be stunned and looking around to see if he was really talking to me. AND he was an upper class man…that’s right!

I remember being stunned that he was sweet and a really a nice guy. Who knew he could hold a conversation and be normal. I couldn’t believe he was asking me about basketball. He knew I played basketball!?

My crush had always been this untouchable person that I would catch glimpses of between classes and at lunch. Now he was not only the guy I saw, but the one who also saw me.

Feeling seen always runs deep. It matters a lot, and is honey to the soul.

My heart is always tender towards the Samaritan woman that Jesus talks to by the well. This woman had gone her whole life only knowing the sounds of scoffing and disdain.  She was not a respected woman. She had no friends in town, and was known for being “loose” with the men. Due to her less than appealing reputation, this Samaritan woman chose the hottest times of day when no one was around to get her chores done.

One day and one conversation with Jesus changed her life.

Jesus was a Jew who was not socially permitted to talk to a Samaritan woman. That didn’t matter to him. Jesus only saw a person to love.

While this woman was drawing water from the well, Jesus stopped and talked to her. He talked to her about life, relationships, and faith. He passed no judgments, but extends an invitation of new life and love. Jesus made her feel seen.

I don’t think it’s ironic that when the woman went back into town to tell people about Jesus that she chose these words, “Come see a man who told me everything I ever did.” In my head I always continue the statement with, “and still loves me.”

For the first time this lost and invisible woman felt valued and known – she felt seen and accepted. Someone saw her. Someone accepted her sin and mess of a life and loved her. This changed everything.

Every one of us is a mess. Everyone is in need of value and love. Making someone feel seen changes everything. It did for me and the Samaritan woman. It’s healing.

In what ways have you experienced feeling seen?

How can you make someone feel seen?

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An inciting incident is something that happens to a character in a story that creates an “Aha!” moment. It is that pivotal situation that enables a fork in the road of life change and decision making.

We all have circumstances that have changed the course of our lives.

Some incidents we don’t invite or ask for, but they happen. Change is sometimes forced on us. Every circumstance comes with decisions to make in how to handle them. The fork in the road speaks of paths that will either lead to healing, or further pain.

I have had several inciting incidents in my life. I can honestly say that I have not handled some of them well. My scars speak of pain and voids, but they also speak of my process of faith and healing.

For the past year, I have been a part of a writing project. I, along with 5 other authors, dive in depth into our own stories, unpacking our personal inciting incidents. It was such a rich experience.


Today, we are doing something powerful and unique. We all have stories to tell. We all have amazing things to offer the lives and stories of others.

I would love to hear yours!


I am inviting you today to be a part of a blogging opportunity to tell us about your inciting incident.

Basically, you’d write a post about an event in your own life—good or bad—that changed things forever and pushed your story forward. You can share in as much or as little detail as you want, in your own creative style, and highlight the insights and life-changes you gained from your experiences.

After your post goes live, link up with us on the Inciting Incidents site. Check out the amazing stories of others as well.

My hope is that we can encourage and find hope through one another’s life lessons. I believe this will can lead to some powerful and rich community.

If you are wondering where you can buy the book….come on over to Amazon!

 What is an Inciting Incident in your life ?

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Growing up, I have definitely known the phrase, “It takes a village to raise a child.

Looking back, I smile at the amount of influence other people have had on my life. There is a mix of not so great influence in there; however, I am grateful to have experienced some sweet older people lead me.

The more and more I think about it, it really does take a village to raise a person. We are designed and created for community. We are meant to know sweet relationship with one another. Community can be known on a friendship level, sports teams, small groups, churches, parent groups, office environments, and the many alike.

We are made to know and be known.

One of the greatest gifts I have had in my life is the gift of mentors. I grew up fast as a teenager. Tragedy has a way of providing a catalyst for maturing way faster than the “normal” rate. I needed help. I needed people in my life who were steps ahead of me – guiding me to move forward.

We are not meant to aimlessly wander through life.

As a teenager, I needed parent like figures to teach me life skills and warnings. As a college kid, I needed older voices in the form of wisdom and gentle direction. As a young 20-something, I needed those older voices to speak into questions of wrestling identity, vocation, and encouragement.

Now, as a early 30-something, I love the voices that speak into character, relationships, purpose, and refinement.

I honestly think that mentoring is undervalued. I love mentoring young adults and college age kids. I love pouring into the lives of others who are wrestling with past seasons of life I have walked through.

We need each other.

I currently have a handful of older faith-strong women who have walked with me for many of those above chapters in my life. I can’t tell how invaluable those relationships are for me. Especially in a season where everything is transitional and new, it is so refreshing to have conversations where I am known; where there is history.

I could honestly sit at the feet of these women all day and just listen. I know I always walk away a better me from those rich conversations.

We all have so much to offer. I want to encourage you to think about someone older to connect with that can love on you and speak into your life. There is nothing like it.

Also think about someone younger who you can love on and walk with through their season of life. It’s life changing for you both!

What has been your mentoring experience?

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I hate being blocked from Twitter! I have no idea what is going on with my account. Trying to work on getting back up and tweeting.

I have really enjoyed connecting on Instagram (@traceepersiko) or find me on FaceBook!!

BUT I miss you all!!

What is going on in YOUR world!!

Catch me up!!

1) What is one thing you are really excited about?

2) What is one thing that is really frustrating?

3) What is one surprising thing for you in the past couple weeks?

4) What is one wish you have?

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Right now, I’m sitting in a Starbucks watching a group of high school girls hang out. I listen as they talk about their day, and thought, “you know…nothing has really changed about the conversations and topics of high school.”

We are a culture that operates out of created groups. We learn how to “belong” through gravitating towards like-minded people. Every high school has the same social groups now as they did 15 years ago when I was there.

We called our like-minded group of friends our community, but in reality they were cliques. Cliques do not allow room for community.

I watch these girls and laugh because my friends now are so different. My closest friends are made up of a mismatch group of gifts, personalities, fears, looks, and passions. One of my closest friends and I joke all the time that we would not have been friends in high school. Our groups and judgments would not have let that happen.

Community ceases to be community when it becomes a clique.

There is no room for community in a cliques. Cliques are closed to anyone new joining in. Cliques enforce a hierarchy of judgment someone needs to pass in order to be allowed in.

It makes me sad when I see adult cliques in the church. Clique mentality has no room in the community of the church body. We are all made in his image. We are all invited to walk a life journey with the same God.

Look at the disciples.

Some would say that the 12 disciples were a clique. No one else was allowed to be a disciple. But look at the mixed match up of those guys!

The community of disciples consisted of different personalities, passions, interests, looks, temperaments, gifts, strong wills, extroverts, introverts, popular, and the loathed. There was no reason these guys should’ve been doing life together – they didn’t go together. They didn’t make sense.

But isn’t this true community?

Community is made up of all of those who are trying to do life well, and follow after the invitation to do life with Him.

Community takes a chance on people. Community sees and wants the heart. Community is inviting.

What are your thoughts on community?

What makes community for you?

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There are times where I just need to get out of my own head. Sometimes due to stresses, circumstances, and the snowball effect that seems like life, I need reminders.

Hebrews 11 is a great chapter for me to go to when I need to just remember what great things other people have done. Hebrews 11 if filled with snap shots of great faith.

There are some glimpses of amazing faith journeys people have had with God in Hebrews. The writer of Hebrews calls these amazing people of faith our “great cloud of witnesses.

This great cloud of witnesses helps me get out of myself and remind me of things bigger than me. I can get self-focused when it comes to working through hard times. This pattern of thinking is not helpful to anyone, especially me.

Reading these amazing stories of faith ushers in the perspective I need to refocus.

I know these stories are not the only great cloud of witnesses we have in life. I have some great clouds that helps me remember where to focus. I have some go-to podcasts, books, blogs, and friends. They make my life rich. They help me get out of me.

I would love to know your cloud of witnesses.

Who are some of your go-to’s to help you refocus and remember?



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