No matter where you are or what you’re doing in life, I truly believe it’s the people who make everything worthwhile.
Because people matter.
Over the weekend, I was fortunate enough to be able to gather so many of my people at one location and chat with them and hug them before I leave town later this week. It was a really special evening, and even though I think it’s really cheesy sometimes when I hear the expression “my heart is so full,” I’m going to go ahead and add some cheese to your wine today—my heart was truly full that day.
I had one moment when I was standing by myself for a second, and I glanced around at all of the people there and couldn’t help but smile. I wasn’t smiling because I thought they were all there to celebrate with me or because it turned out to be such a gorgeous day outside (though I was super thankful for the great weather). I was smiling because we’re all so different, and I just really love that. I love when people can feel like they can be their real raw selves without worrying what other people think or say about them. And I really love when people let people be their real raw selves and love them just the same without thinking or saying negative things about them.
It’s a beautiful picture to see.
When I first starting running with a handful of fast people in Dallas years ago, I have to admit that I was a little nervous. I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to keep up with them, and I didn’t know as nearly as much as they did about all of the big races and all of the best workouts to do to get ready for those races. But they didn’t judge me for my newness to the scene or my lack of accolades. Instead, they made me feel like I belonged. Then, when we were running on a local trail early one morning, and a bunch of little amphibian hoppers were everywhere, they didn’t make me feel like a complete fool for totally freaking out and admitting what my worst fear in life is. Rather than torturing me or making fun of me, they became protectors from the hoppers for me.
And they were there for me Saturday, being themselves with all of their unique quirks and traits—exactly as they should be.
There were people there that day from all parts of my life: work, running, childhood, family, and a category we can call simply call fate. I was surrounding by people who have always let me be me for years, and they’ve supported me in the choices I’ve made, through the heartaches I’ve endured, and even during the silly and sometimes overdramatic moments I’ve shared with them. It reminded me how much I love people. Sure, there are certainly those who drive me bananas, but I’m sure there are some things about them that are special to others and ways they impact people’s lives in drastic ways.
We’re all so different, and we all make our own choices and take our own paths at the times we need to take them. What you do won’t always be right for someone else, and vice versa. In the last few days, I’ve been reminded how important it is to do what you need to do, and ignore the static that sometimes tries to get in the way. People love reminding me that California is SO EXPENSIVE. While it’s true that some things are more costly there, it also really depends on what you’re spending your money on. There are certain things I’m paying more for in Texas than I’ll be paying for there (including car insurance and toothpaste, and I use a lot of toothpaste), and all of my research and realities of my life have shown me that my financial situation won’t leave me broke out there.
The truth is that we’re made the way we are for a reason, and we do the things we do for different reasons, too. I know in my heart that this move is right, and I haven’t looked back since the Lord made that completely clear to me. I also know in my heart that people being wired differently is completely right, and I’m going to do my best to love them for being the particular and sometimes peculiar treasures they are. (Cue Bruno Mars singing “Just the Way You Are.”)
Please never stop being who you are and chasing the dreams you want to chase—no matter how astronomical they may seem or how crazy people may think you are for having them. The true tribe members in your life will back you the whole way, even if they do have concerns. Because they genuinely love you. Because they genuinely care about you. Because they genuinely believe in you.
And because they are genuinely your people forever.
I wish all people were comfortable with the ways they are, and I’ll never stop encouraging others to be so. I’ll never stop believing that anything matches if you wear it with confidence. I’ll never stop trusting that true love doesn’t judge or shame one another.
And I’ll certainly never stop reminding people of a truth engrained in my heart from now until the end of time: You are valued. You are loved. And you matter.