Hey, what's up, guys, and welcome to another episode of Share. The Newsletter. This is a special edition coming out the day before Thanksgiving, the day before, you know, we meet up with family and have dinner and turkey and, kind of the kickoff to the holiday season. But I wanted to do this specifically for those of us that are having a hard time or could have a hard time through the season.
Today, on the way home, from picking up Hannah from school, I asked her, you know, do you have any advice for someone that's going through a hard season? And I think I asked the question because of course I'm curious, but I kind of want to see what's there. Our family is in a difficult season. I mean, and it's a different, difficult holiday season. Our one of the, you know, patriarch of our family has joined his wife in heaven and. This is the first Thanksgiving without Papoo and...will be the first Christmas. And so there's a grief there. There's grief around my physical ability, you know, and it just being long. Bob was so frustrated. He was so frustrated that people couldn't help me get better. Made him so mad. But he was mad this time last year, a year ago. Um. And so we are navigating some different things this year. And because we're navigating some different things and because I think I've always had a place in my heart for people that are going through it in the holidays and maybe in a different space than they have been or grieving a loss or transitioning from a job (it's the worst time in the world to find a job, I know it. I've been there, done that through this season, so I know that's that's the thing.)
I know that this season brings up a lot of memories. What it can represent is a lot of loss as much as there is celebration around us? I've always wanted to try to make space for people that way. So today I just wanted to just iterate a few things to remember during this season if you are going through some difficulty, or grief or sadness?
First and foremost, I just want to give you permission, I Joel David Barnes. Of no real authority, give you permission. To come as you are. Just, to show up exactly where you are.
The reason why I want to start with giving you permission to come as you are. Because I don't think most people in your life are going to give you permission to show up exactly as you are. And I don't think it's their fault. I don't think it's necessarily malicious for the most part. And I don't know everyone's story, but I know that in a season like this and you know, Christmas and Thanksgiving and all the things and New Year's and all the stuff going on, people are so wrapped up in so many different things, right? Their own stuff being a large portion of it kind of survive through the parties and the "don't forget this" and "don't forget that" that I don't think that a lot of people are going to take the time to say, "Hey, you know what? I want you to be exactly who you are today," because I think a lot of us are trying to do more than that, but I want to give you permission to show up exactly how you are to come as you are into this holiday season. It has been.
You know, almost two years of a pandemic. The global pandemic shut down the world, our whole world has changed. I'm not sure when the numbers are going to come out or how to qualify or how to quantify the amount of trauma that's been done in this last couple of years, to EVERY human on the planet. I imagine that, mental health has been SO affected…that this is something that we'll experience for years to come. And we're still in it. We're not on the other side of it. We're still in it. And I think that THAT, in and of itself starts to wear down on people. And, it's more important now than it ever has been for us to be checking in on ourselves. And so that's my first kind of tip action item, if you will, to come as you are, is to check in on you.
Check in on yourself through this season. Some people process some people write. And if you're a list maker or you're a writer. Maybe it's making a list of the ‘pros’ and the ‘cons’ of the season, just so that they're on your radar. Not so that you dread the cons more, but so that you're aware that your mind has put them in that category. You may be surprised about some of the things that show up in the ‘cons’ category to the season. It might be Thanksgiving dinner, (which is tomorrow) that ends up in a ‘cons’ category. And here's the thing, you don't have to share it with a ton of people. You have to know it for YOU first and foremost. This isn't something that I'm telling you to do that you have to share, by the way. You know, “we have to share.” Share's the name of the ministry, but that, in and of itself, that practice might be something you need to do sacred FOR YOU so that you are able to share more effectively when it comes time, or in a healthy way. And so, be honest with yourself, the things you're looking forward to and the things you're not looking forward to.
List checking in around your physical. How do you feel this year? Be gentle, guys, be gentle again. Global pandemic, we've all gained a little bit of weight, but let's just be honest. You know, honestly, if you can hear the sound of my voice and you can say that you've gained weight in the pandemic. You're probably more blessed than, you know, because I'm pretty sure that my friends back in El Salvador...Have probably lost weight during one of the biggest hunger crisis crises of the last hundred years. Hey, maybe file that away for something you're thankful for instead of something that you're beating yourself up about. So be gentle. When it comes to your physical stuff.
Next thing is, you know, you're intellectually…How are you? Are you feeling stimulated intellectually? How are you feeling? You feeling stimulated? Are you feeling, board? What can you do to stimulate your brain, maybe, a little bit more? What can you learn this during this time you have? What book can you read? You know, what can you add? Is there anything? Are you doing well? Are you excelling there?
Spiritually, I mean. I can tell you firsthand, being in this season has been the most exhausting experiences of my life. It just has and it and I can tell you that that so many things physically, emotionally, intellectually, spiritually all get affected...when you're walking through a hard time. So you might not even realize it. You might not even realize that you just need to spiritually take a break...spiritually tune in to your higher power.
For me, it's God for me it's Jesus. But you might need to tune in to your spiritual spirituality a little bit more this season, but just take kind of an inventory of it.
Emotionally, how are you doing? You know you. You tender? You crying at all the soft spot? Pay attention to it. Pay attention to what you're going through. Because, you're allowed to. Because you'll be a better version of you, out in the world, if you pay attention to yourself and if you're honest with yourself, so be honest with yourself. I want you to know that your presence in these places is important and it is valued. I don't want you to receive that as pressure to be where you're not comfortable or where you are too exhausted to be because you have the power to make those decisions. But I do want to just put it in your mind that you are an important part of the structure of the people that you've been invited to be with. And sometimes it's important for us to remember that, you know? We're part of a family. And we are part. And we are an important part. And the only way that there is a family IS if each of the parts are collected. And together. And so...Remember that you're important this season, remember that. You contribute to this whole… this whole that you're a part of. And... and I don't know what your family looks like. I don't know what your Friend's Giving or friend circle or whatever looks like. But you have power in that place. You have permission to contribute to that place. You don't have to be …"overrun" is the only word I can think of. In that place. You're allowed to voice your opinion in that place, you're allowed to contribute to that place. You're allowed to challenge that place. So don't forget that.
The last thing that I'm going to just leave with you just as kind of an "abbreviated guide" to showing up for this holiday season is, Tell the Truth. I already said, be 'honest with you', right? Telling the truth to yourself is more important than anything that I've said here this entire time. But...telling the truth. To others, when they ask, that's a different requests. That's an outward manifestation of what I'm telling you to do with, the 'be honest' part. Now, what does that look like? I probably spent a lot more time thinking about this particular step than I have with all of them. And because it's the hardest one...it's the hardest one... It's the hardest one, to be honest with others when you're having a hard time. No one wants to be the party pooper. No one wants to be the guy who is the Eeyore of the party. No one wants to say, "Hey, you know, everything is going great for everybody else, but I'm in pain. I'm suffering." No one wants that. People don't want to hear it if we're being honest, people don't want to say it. And if we're being honest and I think there's another layer of suffering that comes when you're in the spot and you have to say it. So a couple of tips that I use right now.
*Side thought* (I think I just ghosted somebody as I am sitting here thinking about tips about how to answer the how are you question honestly, I think I just remember that I ghosted someone. He asked me, How are you? I miss you. But I know that he doesn't actually care. I know he doesn't actually care like... How I am. I'm not saying that to be mean, but I know that he it was. It was almost a formality, you know, like and and if you're there, I'm sorry that you're there, but you can laugh about that. You can laugh about the fact that people will ask and don't exactly always intend to really hear the full truth. I'm sorry for it. But we all got a lot of stuff going on. We all got trauma going on. Don't take it personal. Ok. Don't take it personal. I should probably add to the list. "Don't take it personal". With that, we all have so much going on that sometimes we ask questions out of politeness that we don't actually have the capacity to really receive. So back to the tip, the tip in the way that I communicate OTHER than ghosting people, which is an accident and I'm going to respond to him.)
But...a way that I have learned through my season is to outline where I want to be. Outline where I wish I could be. Outline how I would love to answer this question because you know, what happens is instead of hitting them with a "man, I'm just suffering." You know? I say I wish I could tell you that I was walking. I wish I could tell you that I was out of pain. I wish I could tell you that it's been all up into the right since I got the surgery. The reality is that it hasn't. It's been more difficult than I anticipated. But. As I have come to know myself, as I have processed the things that I have processed prior to having this conversation, prior to knowing that I'm going to be engaged in people, checking in and checking up on me for over the course of the next season prior to me having this conversation. That's not what you say, but this is all prior to the work that you've already done. Now comes into play in real time in the conversation. I'd love to tell you that I'm walking, that it's been up until the right that I've been crushing my physical therapy, that it's been a great year. But to be honest, it hasn't. Speaker1: It's been one of the hardest years of my life. But the fact that I'm able to still count my blessings, I take, as incredible. The fact that I have things readily available in my mind to thank God for every single day. It is a powerful way to shift my day to day, so it might not be going the way I want it to be, but I know that it will get there. I know that I'll get to the other side. And so then you can start to feel and see the work that you've been doing in the background behind the scenes start to come into the fruition, the things that you're...You can have a conversation, you're allowed to have a conversation with someone that says, I wish it was this way, but you know what? I'm really thankful for the fact that, I have these friends that hang out with. I'm really thankful for the fact that I have a great community. I'm really thankful for the fact that someone asks me how I'm doing. You're allowed...to be honest. You're allowed to speak without it, breaking your own heart. You're allowed to tell people that you got stuff going on. Without feeling like you've got to hide. And you know what's going to happen? I guarantee you this, and I don't know if I should guarantee you anything, right? Who am I? I don't know anything, but I guarantee you this from my own experience...
When I'm honest what I just say, Hey, I wish I could tell you this story. I wish I could tell you that it was great, but I'm having a hard time. I wish I could tell you that we're not dealing with grief this season, but we're dealing with grief this season. The more often than I am honest, and I don't just skip over the honesty part into the part that I know someone else wants to hear. The more confident I feel in my season that I'm being true to myself, true to my story. And you would be amazingly surprised at how often the response is honest back. It's not just two heads talking about how "this is the day that the Lord has made!" "Everything's going to be great!" This is this turns into now, "man. You know, I've had a hard year too. I'm sorry that you've had a hard year." And and it doesn't do that every single time, but you would be surprised how many times you're going to get back and honest answer when you speak into the honesty that you have going on right now. And it will encourage you. I will promise you that I will guarantee you that because I've experienced it. It's incredible when you check in with yourself. You give yourself permission to show up. You kind of think through, "Hey, you know what? Everyone's got so much going on."
I want to step into this place, I want to go to this dinner, I want to be part of this community. It's going to be hard for people to ask me how I'm doing because my truth is difficult. But I can be honest, and I can let them know. You know what, I got a bunch of stuff going on. I got a bunch of stuff going. And you will find connection where you did not expect connection. Some people will not be able to connect and just, hey, just get it... Forgive them.... we all got so much going on. Sometimes there's things that you're going to say that are that will trigger parts of someone else's story, and now they're wrapped up and what they can't handle about yours. Hey, look, it's not him for you to worry about. I'm just trying to talk to you about YOU navigating this season. And I pray to God that He will bless and protect and guide each and every person that listens to this, that reads this transcript and that He'll give us a way. To connect deeper to share our blessings and our bruises in this season and to come out better than we thought we would, you know, because some of us are dreading it. Some of us are already in the middle of it. And I know that you'll answer God. So thank you for that in advance. Amen.
(transcribed using Sonix… if there were more errors than usual, I apologize. I still have to try to limit the time I sit, so I’m trying new ways to deliver content.)
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