In Brown’s introduction to her book Rising Strong she says, “I define wholehearted living as engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness.  It means cultivating the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough.  It’s going to bed at night thinking, Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am brave and worthy of love and belonging.”  (p.xix)


My friend with the serial adultery issue was the first to acknowledge that her adultery didn’t fit with her core values.  She is a pastor in a large church.  She teaches a course on ethics at the local community college.  She would be mortified if her daughter found out her dirty little secret. In spite of all that acknowledgement, she seemed very reluctant to actually DO anything different.  What was she missing?  Here are some things we can shoot for that might help us walk a path of personal growth, and we can perhaps use them to guide our own insights about what is “missing” in our search for transformation:






Change is more likely to happen when we utilize courage, compassion and connection to do our work.  Sadly, I often hear parents lament over their children’s problems.  Having three of my own I have done my fair share of lamenting too.  But I’ve never seen it hurt a situation for those of us who love a struggling person – whether child, spouse, parent or third cousin twice removed – to do our own work of recovery.


I hope you have some dreams about what a wholehearted life would look like for you personally.  What foundational actions might you need to take to get the ball rolling in the right direction?  What small first right steps need to be in place so that you can move toward your wholehearted, whole hog life?  Can you find courage, compassion and connection in your own life?  What might have to change in order to access these 3 c’s?


Belonging isn't easy

Brene Brown writes the most amazing books.  In her book Rising Strong, she provides the guiding principles that she has in her own organization.  I’ll get to those in a second, but here’s the main point for us to consider today:  she and her organization are operating by guiding principles.


This is uncommon but necessary for belonging.  There is this tendency to get sentimental about belonging.  “Hey, come!  We accept everyone!”  I love the sentiment but it can be taken too far.  In almost twenty years of recovery ministry I can count on one hand the number of times that we have had to respectfully ask someone to find another community.  Yikes.  I hate writing that sentence.  BUT and this is a big BUT – BUT for the welfare of the community, it is important to have thought about the conditions of belonging.  I am SO not talking about forming a club where people get along.  In our community we have conflict and petty arguments on a fairly regular basis.  This is normal for a tribe of people who love each other and form deep attachments.  I’d be concerned if we didn’t have issues to sort through.  But there are limits, and those limits are best not determined in the heat of a dispute, but forged through a discernment process over a long period of time and shaped by experience/failure.


Remember Sister Monahan’s discoveries:  truth, authenticity, and humility (another way to say that is finding her place in the bigger story as she discovered she was neither unique or alone). Add to that Brene’s five guiding principles and I think we end up with the start of a great conversation for ourselves, our friends, our families, our communities, and any organization we are invested in.


Here are Brene’s (paraphrased by me but available in totality on p. 257 in Rising Strong:


1.     Respect -  for all and everything.

2.     Rumble – value our tribe enough to be willing to wrestle with hard things.

3.     Rally – even in conflict, refuse to let go of collaboration, ditch ego, and practice the discipline of gratitude.

4.     Recovery – rest!

5.     Reach out – don’t isolate, stay connected, practice empathy, compassion and love.


I hope the connections are fairly obvious regarding Monahan’s and Brown’s perspectives.  More than anything, I pray that me and mine find ways to remember the 5 R’s and practice living them.  Which of these is most difficult for you?  Which one do you feel you could show up for your community and practice reasonably well?