Permission to gather your own tribe

thanksgiving
It’s Thanksgiving morning. And I’m literally writing this in my pj’s, eating waffles with the Thanksgiving Day parade on. It’s kinda perfect.

I love Thanksgiving. I love the fall weather, all of the yummy food, warm smells coming from the kitchen and the house bustling with friends and family. I seriously love it all.

I eat the food for DAYS. Like seriously. All the days after. I’m not a big turkey fan, but give me ALL the sides: mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie and my very favorite, stuffing – love me some LOADS of stuffing.

It’s just the bestest foodie day ever.

But, as much attention as we put on the food, the table, the decorations…I can’t ignore the quiet rumblings of hearts on days like today.

Today, many of you may feel overwhelmed. Or forgotten. You may feel left out and out of place. You may feel stressed and frustrated. You may feel disappointed or anxious with worry. Or just incredibly lonely.

Let me say, you are OKAY. There is nothing wrong with you. And, my sweet friend, you are not alone. So often, we feel like we are the ONLY one going through the stuff on days like today. And, yet, I promise you whatever your situation, heartache or frustration, my friend it has been walked through many times before. There are tons of other stories like yours. I promise.

In a world filled with Hallmark postcards of “perfect families” it can feel like an empty place for hurting hearts. But it’s more inclusive and warm than it’s given credit for. Because for every hurting heart, there is another one quietly saying, “me too”. We, my friends, are not alone.

We tend to put a tremendous amount of pressure on ourselves to make sure everyone else is okay. To serve the world around us – even the parts of it that are unkind to us. We feel obligated to step up and be the “better person” by smacking on a smile, lighting the candles and serving up the turkey.

But, I don’t believe that’s what this day is about.

Or any day for that matter.

Today is about giving thanks.

Giving thanks doesn’t mean allowing yourself to be mistreated and then searching for a shred of solace  “to be thankful for” to recite at the dinner table.

That’s not it.

It is a day for us to give thanks for the things that really matter: the inner peace that settles us when we are afraid. The inner calm that rises above obstacles and calls us to be brave. The inner voice that steadies us when the world crashes around us. We give thanks for the countless blessings we receive in spite of the odds against us. We give thanks for a creator who sees us, knows us and accepts us just as we are – even when we feel lost on days like today.

That is the beauty of today.

I hope you are at a table with a tribe you are proud to call your own. But, if you find yourself at a table that is filled with fake laughter and moments of “I’m thankful for my summer vacation in the Bahama’s” while passing the potatoes, excuse yourself.

Go into the kitchen and load your plate with dessert – like all the good stuff. Go to the bathroom. Lock yourself in and sit down. Eat the damn dessert and BREATHE. Connect with that inner voice that says YOU ARE ENOUGH. You are so very loved. You are beautiful. You are worthy. You are brave.You are perfectly loved. There is nothing wrong with you – you just haven’t found your tribe yet. And make a mental note to build and create your own tribe next year.

Because, my friends, you have permission to set your own table; invite your own tribe and create your own space for gratitude. You have permission to say no to those who do not love you well and whose voices cover you with shame. You have permission to set the tone for the atmosphere around you and your family. You have permission to be exactly who you are and to be reminded that that is enough.

Because when we are fighting to keep our heads above water with the people we are interacting with, we don’t serve well. It just doesn’t flow right.

Unloved hearts give and serve out of obligation. Loved hearts give out of gratitude and grace.

We simply can’t give what we don’t have. It just doesn’t work.

When we are surrounded by those who love us well, it unlocks the servant part of us that wants to open our arms and serve. And then serving doesn’t feel like a burden at all – instead it’s something we naturally long to do, where the act of giving becomes a natural expression of our heart.

Whatever your table looks like, I promise there is no obligation greater than the one you have to yourself: to be loved well. And, if there isn’t anyone at your table that does that, then maybe you need to find another table – or better yet, create your own 🙂

You are worthy of being loved well. You are worthy of being seen and known. You are worthy of being fought FOR.

There are no rules to this game my friends. You have full permission to say no, build your own tribe and create your own table.

Hugs to you and Happy Thanksgiving,

Anna

Above ALL else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.

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6 thoughts on “Permission to gather your own tribe

  1. Oh Thank you Anna, thanks to a post on FB I was able to find you. Your my angel. The post about the pastor’s wives going to a strip club witnessing to strippers was so humbling to me. I felt so encouraged about going back to church and offering anything I can do for God’s suffering people . I feel called for something. I’m a retired grandma who doesn’t get to see my FAMILY for many reasons and I have a “hole” in me that feels the need to reach out and make a FAMILY where I live and could maybe help someone else less fortunate. I’ve never been a person for small talk and big get togethers which is most of the reason why I don’t attend church. But I’m rethinking this cause I do want to be more like JESUS. Thank you ABBA for helping me to come to this decision…. Blessings 💟

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