On my birthday last year, I was one month into living in NYC. I knew very few people and had no real birthday plans. I felt incredibly alone on that day. My best friend Sue attempted to surprise me with 24 churros on my birthday. At that time, we were in two different cities, and she wanted to surprise me while we were miles apart.

Postmates got lost and never ended up delivering them. I missed her so much that day, it really, really hurt.

My absolute worst nightmare is throwing a birthday party and no one showing up. Contrary to popular belief, I have never been one to enjoy the spotlight. As loud and aggressive as I may be, I enjoy much more the spotlighting of others.

This is rooted in an intense fear of rejection. I don’t want people to not show up for me in the same way I think I show up for them. And it’s inevitable, right? Because life is busy, people are busy – people with the best intentions can’t always keep up. And in so many ways, I’ve often let that dictate how I feel about myself. When people don’t show, I let that be a reflection of the identity, or lack thereof, in myself – which often makes me feel a little stupid.

It’s stupid to place your worth on others because your worth doesn’t begin or end in others, anyway. I am learning now more than ever that people can only do so much for you – your worth has to start and flow out from you.

This year, a bunch of my closest girlfriends threw me an overwhelming, surprise birthday party. These ladies showered me with the most affection and love I think I have ever experienced at a function, and I am so grateful to them. The most special thing they did was prepare a word of encouragement to lead me into my next year. Each of these women, in their unique experiences, perspectives, and backgrounds, spoke a word to me that touched me in such a big way – speaking into what God saw in me, rather than the ways that I can get about myself.

I knew, in that moment, God was asking me to sit and receive what He was doing.

My gut reaction was to pour into them the same way that they were to me – mostly, because I was so grateful for what they saw and what they were saying. But, my dear mentor and friend Christina told me to shut up. She wouldn’t let me say one word but a simple thank you.

I think we need to allow people to pour into us. I think, as women, we spend a lot of time thinking about what WE do to help other people be their best selves. We pour so much into our friendships, our relationships, family, partners, co-workers, that sometimes leaves us no space to receive. This is often done with the biggest hearts and the kindest intentions.

It glorifies God more to sit in His goodness – especially in the slightest chance that His goodness could live inside of you.

By receiving what other people saw in me, I was finally allowing myself to accept what God was doing in me, but also what He saw when he chose me. God, himself, looked at me and created me in my uniqueness, with a calling, an ability to relate to others – that all these things were unique and special to me. God chose those things; He made them that way. And those Godly qualities, the God in me – those are the things my girlfriends can see. He wanted them that way. He absolutely adores everything about me.

I am walking into this new year believing that what they see in me, is only a sliver of what God sees me in. It’s a sliver of the immense love that God has for me and for all humankind. I am walking into this year believing God for the impossible, because He has the ability to be the things that I don’t see in me.

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Living love boldly, courageously, and without fear.

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