The other day, Kyle asked jokingly why my friend Julie and I argue—or what I like to simply call banter—so much.
“Because she is safe for me,” I responded without thinking. And it’s true. Together, through our mutual love and respect for one another, we are allowed to dream big and ponder ideas that sometimes feel too heavy to bear alone. We’ve logged years of vulnerable and trusted conversations, so much so that bantering honestly feels safe with her like few other people I know.
She is a safety net for me.
This morning, I picked up my youngest child, only three, who stretched out her arms for comfort after a perceived slight. As I whispered tender words in her ear to soothe her wounded heart, I realized I am a safety net for her.
Later, as I was cleaning up dishes and cutting vegetables for supper, I wondered: Do I do this often enough? How can I be better at loving those around me unconditionally?
Better at offering acceptance simply for who someone is, not because of what they say or do.
And I wondered: Do others see me as a safe person? A safety net of sorts?
Because I still want to be a soft place to land.
I strive for these things and speak often of them because I know I’m just not there yet. Not really. I judge others too quickly and all too often offer up harsh words. I grow impatient and annoyed. Sometimes I build up offenses and create arguments in my head—ones that, although never actually spoken, turn my thoughts and heart bitter all the same. Those are the thoughts that spill over to actions and words coming out sideways and toward unintended targets that I later regret. In those moments, I have a complete disregard for the hurt my words may cause another, especially those closest to me.
And that is when I remember my own need for safety nets—for grace—for people like Julie. The people that know me well and allow room for me to fumble, be mad, seek forgiveness, and love me through it.
I have been graced with many who offer safety nets for me—who are people of peace.
Can I suggest something for us all, friends?
Can we all seek to be safe people, creating safety nets for others around us?
When there is so much hate and anger and harshness in the world, I realize that I’d like to be a kind face. A warm hand to hold. An inviting space to be in. It’s all too easy to give in to the cruelty and animosity that swirls around us, often threatening to swallow us whole and drown us in the weight of it all.
I’d like to choose something different.
I want to grab hold of the love and grace offered by the only One who can save and redeem, the One that acts as a buoy and floats my heart back to the surface, refusing to let me sink with the burden of anger or bitterness.
I’d like to choose to stand and throw out a safety net to others in distress. And I’d like nothing more than to look over on the shore and see you there with me, friends.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Kendra is SO excited to announce that her new book, Grace for the Misfits: 31 Days Pursuing the Unconventional Favor of God, is available now! This book will offer encouragement and hope for anyone who has ever felt like they didn’t quite fit in, walked through hard times, or wasn’t sure God could use them–all while discovering the upside-down ways of Jesus, his kingdom, and what (and who) he says matters. Find out more information here.