As I arrived in NYC this morning shortly after 7am via NJ Transit train, I decided to take a different subway train than I have the past few months just to switch it up - and I'm so glad I did.
As soon as I walked out of Penn Station, I started making my way to Herald Square.
***When I commute, I try to always practice what I call Heads Up Commuting. This is where I really focus on taking in what is happening around me. Eyes up. Phone away. Looking for an opportunity to love out loud, with action and purpose. Praying for those who are passing by.
Praying for the chance to make someone smile, snap out of their commute daze, or change the trajectory of their day.
On this morning I still had my headphones in, but on low volume with Jesus centered music because honestly I just was feeling a little less oomph this morning and really longing for my heart to be more connected to who I believe created my heart.
As I crossed the street I saw a married couple that usually comes and hangs out with us at the outreach we are doing later this morning in lower Manhattan. They were on the edge of the sidewalk with about 5 small bags - all their life belongings - rotating individual items, setting up and preparing for the needs of the day.
I caught their eye, giving them the chance to take in who I was, then I went in for the big joy filled hugs.
As much as they were happy to see me, I could tell they also felt shame.
Here they were, just out of the drop-in center where they "sleep" sitting up in chairs overnight.
Tired, lacking - not who they desired to be in that moment.
I hate shame and what it does to us - how it makes us hide. How it automatically makes us feel unqualified to receive love. How it pushes us down into a hole that is filled with more and more pressuring thoughts of despair and loneliness.
The best way to combat shame in others is to not allow it's pressuring to manifest into reality by shutting it down with extreme, no questions asked, love.
I don't care what you look like. I don't care what failure you presume to have in your life. I don't care what other people put on you. Not even a little bit.
My job is to love you so much that instead of shame and loneliness you feel alive and purposeful.
How can we do this better?
Who is walking around you, me, us, with the shame of lack? The shame of failure? The shame of separation, divorce, addiction, unemployment, poverty, singleness, you fill in the blank.
I left my friends still on the sidewalk, but with joy.
And today, they know they have a place to be where we are ecstatically excited to see them and walk with them until they can kick the shame and separation they feel.
Who can you love the shame out of today?
It might even be the person you don't agree with, have a different political view than, or your mortal enemy.
Give it a try. Message me if you have questions or want prayer to be bolder in these areas.
Much love my friends!
Feel free to share if you think this may be helpful for others. :)