I need to be honest with you for a minute.  I ALWAYS want to be honest.  I REALLY do. But sometimes, it’s hard to put myself out there.  Because “The difficult thing is that vulnerability is the first thing I look for in you, and the last thing I am willing to show you. In you, it’s courage and daring.  In me, it’s weakness.” (Brene Brown)  Who likes to expose their perceived weaknesses?  I, for one, do not.

If I am honest, I would rather talk in vague generalities than specific truths.

But in an continued effort to practice courage, I want to tell you the specific truth. And that truth is that I do NOT want to talk about Adult Friendships this month. Let me explain.  We set up all of our topics for the whole year… in August.  That was ten months ago.  TEN.

Ten months ago, I thought talking about Frientimacy 2.0 would be a excellent idea! After all, who doesn’t like a feel good talk on the importance of girlfriends!?!  But a lot can happen in ten months.

Even though I have never pretended to be an expert on any topic, there have been some that have been easier than others.  And Frientimacy 2.0 feels like a hard one. You see, I am a lover of people.  I am an extrovert.  I LOVE having friends.  People are my life line. But that doesn’t mean I am an expert on friendship. That doesn’t mean I always get it right.  It doesn’t mean I always communicate effectively and say the right thing.  It doesn’t mean that I won’t misstep. And when I do, it doesn’t mean that I know what to do next.  And, it certainly doesn’t mean my actions always express just how well I want to love my friends.

My fears, my insecurities, my weaknesses, my flesh, my feelings…  all can get in the way of how I friend.

You add all that together with my temperament color and need for approval and affirmation, along with my Enneagram Type 2 Helper tendencies – and let’s just say that it allows for LOTS of opportunities for growth. 🙂 I can find myself in relationships that do not reflect how I want to friend.  How I want to be in friendship.

So then, I wrestle with feelings of inadequacies.  Feeling incapable.  Like there is NO WAY I can speak into Frientimacy 2.0.  (This is where I wish we had unlimited funds and could pay the big bucks to bring in the experts.  Because if that were the case, the author, Shasta Nelson would be on her way to Atlanta!)

And then, I came across this quote. TWICE.  In one week. You don’t need to be perfect to inspire others. Let people get inspired by how you deal with your imperfection.

I am not perfect. In ANY regard.  And relationships are no exception.  But here I am.  Growing and learning right alongside you.  It might be at a snail’s pace, but I am growing nonetheless. Some days I am crushing it.  Other days, not so much.  But “by inch or by mile, forward momentum is the only requirement.” (Rachel Hollis). It’s progress over perfection.

I was reminded of this profound truth today as I ran for essentially the FIRST time since I trained and ran a half marathon last November. There have been lots of setbacks that impacted my running schedule. Lots of variables.   Lots of legitimate reasons why I couldn’t run.  Lots of excuses as to why I didn’t get back out there.

But today I did.  It was hard.  It was painful. I didn’t go as fast as I envisioned in my head.  And I didn’t go as far as I had hoped my body would take me.

But you know what?  I ran.  I am in NO WAY an expert runner.  Especially with these Fred Flintstone legs. But I ran anyway.  And I was encouraged!  Not because I am the perfect runner, but BECAUSE I AM NOT!  Short strides, heavy breaths and all!  Not only did my imperfect run inspire me to keep going, it motivated the lady on the greenway that was also struggling. In between our huffing and puffing, we struck up a short but honest conversation.  Neither of us are where we want to be in terms of our running condition.  There are gaps. Our physical bodies don’t yet reflect what our hearts and minds seek.  But that’s OK.  We are in the race. We are out there running. Getting stronger. Healthier. And a tad closer to where we want to be.

Running. Friendship. It’s all the same. As Shasta shares, “It’s in the gaps where we grow. It’s in realizing that we don’t have what we want – or that we don’t want something we have – that encourages us to seek out what we do want.  No one starts a diet, quits a job, or takes a risk of any kind without first feeling the gap between the current and preferred scenario. So, ultimately and ideally, our gaps invite our growth.

If we are willing to admit feeling hungry for greater connection, then we’re better able to choose the actions that will lead to more meaningful friendships.” I hope you will join me on May 16th for Frientimacy 2.0 so we can do just that, TOGETHER. I hope to see you there… not because I am a perfect friend, but because I am not.