I stand in front of a sea of faces at the (in)courage meet-up in Springfield, Missouri. When I was asked to be an emcee at the event my initial response was, “This scares me silly!” I considered giving in to my fear. Letting someone else do it. Handing the microphone right over. But then I remembered one little phrase.
You’re not the only one.
You see, I had been telling myself that the other women at the event would have it all together. Their hair would be freshly highlighted, lip gloss perfectly applied and their lives (as well as kitchen cabinets) would be in proper order. They would show up overflowing with good cheer and never once think about hiding behind the cupcake tower. Unlike me.
But then I remembered how Jesus has been showing me that we are all more alike than different.
We are all broken. We are all beautiful. We are all in need of grace. We are all glory-reflectors. We are the paradox people.
So I showed up and said something like this to the crowd, “We’ve come here tonight to find ourselves among friends, as (in)courage says. And C.S. Lewis once wrote, “Friendship is the moment when one man says to another, ‘What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .'”
If that’s true then the starting place for this evening is to stop believing the lie that we’re the only one.
Look around this room.
You are not the only one who has struggled with an addiction.
You are not the only one whose heart has been shattered by a divorce.
You are not the only one who is worried no one will like you.
You are not the only one who wonders if God is still listening.
You are not the only one who desperately needs a night away from dirty laundry and loud children.
None of us have it together but we are all better together.
This is what friendship means — it’s saying even if the specifics of our lives and stories are different we both understand what it means to be human and we choose to do life with each other rather than apart.
I also shared that I’ve begun saying, “You’re not the only one” in another way too. I have said it to myself with the capital letters: “You’re not the Only One.” In other words, “You are not Jesus.” Last time I checked no one else on the planet is either.
This is excellent news because it means we don’t have to save the world. We don’t have to be perfect. We don’t have to take care of everything and everyone all the time. There is Only One who can do those things and He’s quite good at them.
It also means there is Only One who is truly deserving of our glory and our honor and our praise. Our lives are not about us. They are about Him. Yes and amen.
I eventually stepped off the stage to hug necks and, of course, find the coffee and cupcakes. The frosting alone was worth not letting the lies and fears win. I hope you won’t let them win either. So just in case you’re facing something hard or scary in your life today, I want to whisper one more time: You’re not the only one. And the Only One who can do the impossible is right there with you — the most faithful friend of all.