we've got dinner reservations with our friends later tonight

It’s #FridayFive Day!  And this one is intriguing to me!  Kelly writes about her Five Dinner Guests that she wants to invite over.  She chose five women to speak into her life.  I’m going in a similar vein but a little differently – Five Dinner Parties I’d love to throw and the people I’d want to gather around my table.  Women I love and/or admire that I’d invite over for some good food.
My people.
I borrow this phrase from Grey’s Anatomy – the people in my life that I choose to surround myself with who lift me up and care for me the most.  These women are my ride or die friends, and they are scattered all over the US now.  One in Northern Cali, one in Seattle, three in Denver, three here in Illinois.  I’d gather them all around my table and watch them interact.  We’d laugh, share stories and talk about what God’s done in our lives.  Someday – I hope this is a reality.
The women whose words have changed me
There are a few authors and speakers whose books have significantly impacted my life.  Women who have bravely shared their stories in writing and encourage others to do so as well.  I’d love to meet each of these women, I’d love to be mentored by them, but at the very least, I’d love to sit around a table and hear about their journeys.  This invite list would include Jen Hatmaker, Shauna Niequist, Sarah Bessey, Rachel Held Evans, Bianca Juarez-Olthoff and probably more that I’m forgetting.
The Real Housewives
I know, I know – I shouldn’t be admitting this but I love the Real Housewives shows.  It’s my guilty pleasure – I find them fascinating and season after season I find myself intrigued by what’s going on in their lives.  I don’t condone a lot of what they say or do but a lot of them actually seem like fascinating women.  I’d be really interested in sitting down with them – probably at Villa Blanca and just observe them.  That dinner would be Bethenny Frankel, Heather Thompson, Heather Dubrow, Lisa Vanderpump, Kyle Richards, Caroline Manzo… I think that’s all.
The Celebrities
While we’re talking about famous people – let’s just get this one out of the way.  Famous women who inspire and fascinate me.  Women who’ve used their platform to encourage and lift up other women.  I want to gather them all up, at some random New York restaurant and hear their stories.  Tina Fey, Mindy Kaling, Amy Poehler, Kerry Washington, Jenna Fischer, Angela Kinsey, Sara Bareilles, Drew Barrymore.
Pastors and World Changers
These are women, within my denomination or who I’ve met through church and work.  For them I’d make it more of a retreat, a time away that we could rest from ministry and pour into each others lives.  This one is last in list but close to my heart.  I’d invite friends and pastors I admire, seminary professors who poured into me.  I would love to have them mentor me, encourage me, walk alongside me.  These are women who have been doing ministry a lot longer than me, who I would love to learn from.
Who would you invite to dinner if you could?

and I learned to dance with the fear that I'd been running from

This week’s #FridayFive’s prompt is Fear/Fearless.  Over on MrsDisciple.com, Kelly writes about the truths that she fights fear with – truths given by God to his people through the Bible.  It’s a really good post – plus a great giveaway!  You should all go over there and read it too – okay?  Okay!
Fear is a tricky thing.  It creeps up on you and can keep you from living well.  It’s a real emotion that stems from places of deep feeling – deep love and deep hurt.  Fear of losing loved ones, fear of being alone, fear of sickness, tragedy, not living up to your potential.  Fear is real, even when we don’t think it is, and the best way we can deal with it is to face it head on.   So for my #FridayFive, I present….

#FridayFive – Ways to live Fearless

I’m no master.  But I have dealt with some major fear in my life and at some point I had to look it in the eye and tell it that it wasn’t going to hold me back anymore.  (And then keep doing it over and over again.) Here are five things or ways I deal with fear in my life.
The promises of God
(Like I said at the top, go read Kelly’s post for more on this one) The Bible is full of some great truths on God’s desires for our lives.  He desires the best, he wants us to be whole and complete – but we live in a broken world.  Things happen to us, in us, through us that cause deep deep pain.  That’s what fear comes from, the deep pain we’ve either already experienced or have seen others experience.  But when we read God’s words we know that he wants us to have the beautiful and free life, that one day we will be fully reconciled.  We will have shalom – wholeness.  We rest assured on the promises of God.
The Presence of God
I did a Beth Moore study once where she talked about fear.  She encouraged us to name our biggest fear.  To fill in the blank – If ___________ happens then _________.  The first blank is where our fear goes and the second one she filled in with “God.”  As if to say, if our biggest fears came true, then God.  He will help us to pick up the pieces.  About a week after that happened, my greatest fear actually happened.  And she was right – God was there.  His presence was so tangible in my life during that time and it helped me to walk through it.  And even though now the blank has new fears in it, I can point back to what he’s already done and say – I’d be okay.  It would hurt, but I’d be okay.
My People
That’s what I call my community.  My closest friends and family.  In the words of Jen Hatmaker – they’re my tribe.  My people.  And they help me to live fearlessly because I know they have my back.  They are the best encouragers, the best listening ears, the best prayers.  They are my ride or die people.  They help me to see the beauty in my life, even in the midst of pain.  They are real and vulnerable and they speak such truth and kindness into my life.  I can look fear in the face because I know on either side of me, I’m flanked by my people.
The Beauty of Creation
Jesus tells his followers in the Gospels not to worry because God’s got it.  Then he points to creation all around him to demonstrate his point.  God has made this world around us to live in such harmony, he has orchestrated such rhythms – how can I not see that he can orchestrate rhythm from my chaos.  Or what I see as chaos.  In him all things are possible – even the healing of a broken heart.
It really is the best medicine.  Whenever I’m feeling the pull of fear, the weight of this world crushing in all around me – I just seek out some laughter.  I call home and ask for my silliest niece.  I call up my friends and say I need to dance it out.  Sometimes you need to cry, to talk it all out.  But other times you just need to let go and laugh.  You just need a reminder that life is good and that for this moment, you’re okay.  And then you just take a moment at a time.
Fear is real.  Don’t let anyone downplay your fears.  But when you look them in the eye, you can live fearless.  What helps you to live fearless?