Thursday, October 1, 2015

that time i met my bff



Two weeks ago was my birthday. Let's not talk about how old I am. It's irrelevant. It's depressing.

Enough of that.

On my birthday, I got to listen to Jen Hatmaker speak at the D6 Conference. She, of course, spoke hard truths without mincing words: Stop being a consumer in church; Serve the marginalized; Let's stop putting on a show in our churches; Down with over-programing; Pleated Dockers are a no-go; etc.

Our church's Family Equipping Minister had never heard Jen (of course we're on a first-name basis) speak before. She was knocked out of her socks, proclaiming that Jen should have done an altar call when she was done. (Several people would have relented wearing pleated Dockers that night, that's for sure.)

But really, Jen spoke the truth that we all need to hear. Some of us (myself) need to hear it daily. Stop putting on a show. Serve people who can never repay you. Love people deeply. Community is key.

That stuff sounds awesome, but it's oh-so hard to do. It requires constant questions: Do I have time? Money? Resources? Energy? Knowledge? (The answer is almost always yes, but we often don't want to ask the questions, so we don't. Instead, we ignore them and carry on in our own happiness, ignorant of the joy that could come when we lay our own desires aside.)

For example, Jen even offered up her church's strategy for small groups: Meet two nights a month, serve together once a month, invite others (to build relationships) to your own home once a week. Flexible, service-oriented, evangelism and discipleship focused, relationship-driven. (Side note: Brad and I liked it, and we're already trying it in our new Disciple-Making Group.)

But back to my main point: Jen is my new bff.

I knew I would be meeting her, which caused me to experience some adverse symptoms similar to those you might experience on a first date: sweaty palms, overthinking my wardrobe, playing out several conversation starters in my mind, imagining myself rattling off multiple pithy comments in a row and making her face hurt from laughing, worrying about whether or not I smelled like breast milk. (Ok, that last one wasn't something I ever worried about on a first date.)

Because of the symptoms listed above, I had nearly chickened out of speaking to her by the time I was supposed to go meet her. In fact, I had talked myself out of attempting to approach her altogether. You see, I like to admire things from a distance, to fantasize about my perfection in handling a meeting with of one of my heroes, to pretend THEY are lucky to be meeting me. If I were to actually meet one of them, I would surely mess it up. (See my explanation here.)

My friend even had to send me a pep talk via text: "Go get it, Lotz."

I was lucky Brad was there, because that man fears no one. He would jump at the chance to talk religion with the Pope, football with Brett Favre, or hunting with Ted Nugent. He has never been embarrassed, and "shy" isn't even on his descriptive radar.

I, on the other hand, would honestly rather watch everything unfold while hiding under my cardigan in a corner somewhere in the distance.

The great news: She was actually a normal person. I expected nothing but authenticity from her, but STILL, she is a superstar so you never really know.

Did she order special towels from the conference to keep her complexion spotless and glowing? Did she require 15 escorts to and from her limo upon arrival? Did she set a time limit on smalltalk?

No, no, no.

When she spread her arms wide for a hug, I (even my non-hug-loving self) actually reached in happily to receive one (until I began obsessing about the fact that I probably smelled like breast milk, which is oh-so-unfortunate-but-highly-feasible).

She spoke to Brad about her husband and Hugh Halter and told Brad she'd be praying for our church and the important decisions to be made. She then oohed and ahhed over Oaklee, kissing her on her tiny toes and holding her close, then apologizing for having zero personal boundaries. (Who cares that the Pope kissed that Pope Baby...Jen Hatmaker basically anointed my baby. That's a Top Ten Life Moment right there.)

"The anointing"
Pretty sure she's saying "for the Love..." right here.
Here's the kicker: She is a real person. A very real person. When she said she'd pray about our church, I truly believed her. When she reached out for a hug, she squeezed me as a friend. Her smile: Truly warm. She isn't just writing and saying pretty words that sound wonderful and make her seem like a superhero to the nations. She's doing it.

Serving the poor? She's doing it. Welcoming strangers into her house in the name of Jesus? She's doing it. Living uncomfortably to become more aware of the struggles of others and the holiness of God? She's doing that, too.

Sharing about the struggles of living with teenagers and hating on high-wasted jean shorts and complimenting her grandma's boobs and detailing the struggles of pastors and the church...she's doing that, too.

And all of this together--proof of her authenticity--adds to my love of her and the Truth she shares.

So of course, we're bff's. (Have we talked since? Of course [via Twitter].)

I have included proof below for those of you who don't believe me. BFF's, I tell you.