I’m in California this week and it is sunny and seventy. It is so easy to be thankful in bright skies and big waves. We have gone to the beach every day and you should know this little secret about me: I have never been one to simply lie on a big green beach towel and soak in some rays while waves crash at my feet. I’ve always had to experience the salt water myself.

So under a big sky, I run out to the beach and catch up with my brother. There I am: a thirty-year-old mama with a boogie board in hand because life is better lived. As I make my way out to horizon, the cold water climbs to my knees, and I think, “I am going numb. This is good. I can stay in the water longer if I go numb.”

And then, as if God spoke straight into my heart, I thought, this is me. This is us. This is America and all its glory. We are going numb to humans and grateful hearts and simple joys. And if we stay in it long enough, it seems to help.

Except for the fact that we’re believing a lie.

And as I thought of all of this, my brother who had been in the stone-cold water longer than me, looked over and said, “I have to go back up to the shore, my body is waking up again. It hurts now.”

Yes, this is us.

Because eventually we waste our lives long enough by numbing ourselves until our bodies wake up and we see humans everywhere and God everywhere and love everywhere and we wonder

have we really experienced it? Life, did we really experience it?

Pause.

Did we give our whole selves away to get back our whole selves?

And I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to get to the end and wonder.

So what if we laid our heads down tonight, the eve of our most thankful day, and commit our hearts to a few things. What if you + I really did this thing?

UNTANGLE OUR WORTH

Repeat after me: your worth is not in your table setting. Your worth is not in all the dishes you present tomorrow. Your worth is not in how well your kids behave or the compliments you receive from your in-laws.

Those do not define you.

Neither do the presents you give at Christmas. The Christmas cards you send out to your neighbors. Not even the nativity scene you present on your mantle.

These are good things, but not value-setting standards. They are lovely but we can’t let them define us. Women everywhere are numbing themselves to unachievable standards and we keep getting more and more cold.

So, do you want to know what does define you?

Beloved.

You are God’s beloved and nothing you can do or can’t do will make you matter more. And the best part of this is that when we begin to believe it, we live it, and then others see it and they want to be beloved, too. And in its simplest form, this is called love. When we live this way, we see warm hearts make their way out of cold standards.

And this is good.

GOD IS HERE

This is what I’m practicing these days. This whisper. God is here. So my question is, what if we whispered it all season? What if we whispered it all year? All our lives?

God is here. Immanuel.

What if in the chaos of tomorrow, or the hurt feelings of a snide comment at the dinner table, we said it? What if in the tapestry of broken relationships or tears of a lost loved one? What if we said it in between the joys of dessert and one more glance down a long table?

God is here.

And what if we really said it? Said it out loud, like we mean it. God is here.

Because He is. God is here. And I dare say this could change everything.

THE DISCIPLINED ART OF HUMANS

We are losing the art of humans to screens and fantasy worlds. What if we stepped in and took it back? What if we conquered the art of humanity all over again? And what if it started tomorrow?

It can.

It means getting in front of all those humans, looking them in the eyes and listening. It means asking them questions and nodding our heads to the stories of their lives (even if we are different from them). It means remembering that they are probably fighting a battle somewhere in their own life, and that Jesus laid down His life for us so we can lay down our life for them.

Again and again and again.

But really, it means taking time to pray with them, believe in them, touch their cold (numbing) hands and say, “I am with you. Let me stay with you. I will mess up, but if we both can give grace, I want to stay with you.”

What if we did?

We would start to feel warmth again. We would look back up the shore and say, “It is time to go in.” And cold hands, hearts, minds, and bodies could become warm again.

Let’s all head in from the stone cold water. I’m game. Are you?

And because I think we all have to aggressively fight this. Tell me what you are practicing this season? We could all use some tips.