We’ve talked a little about green circle things in our lives…the things that are healthy and bring us joy and that center us in the midst of our chaos. Green circle can also absolutely include people, not just experiences or places or things. In my healing journey, these green circle people have become my inner circle.
You see, healing is a journey and there are ebbs and flows to the rhythm of it. Some stretches are easier than others, and some stretches have heard me utter the words, “I just want to be done. I can’t take any more of this.” My inner circle people have rejoiced with me in the easy seasons and crawled with me through the muck and mud of the hardship seasons.
But, if I’m honest, the temptation in the past has been to not really have inner circle people at all. Don’t get me wrong, I had friends. Plenty of friends. And I had good friends. But I walked for years under the umbrella of “fine.” You know the scene. Someone asks how things are and your auto-reply is, “fine!” In all reality, most days, fine doesn’t accurately depict anything at all. Most days fall more into:
The list could go on… these adjectives that define a more clear picture of what we walk through on the day-to-day. I, however, thought I was being authentic and had best friends and fun friendships. But, inner circle? Nah. That didn’t exist. Not really. I can think of a literal few people in the first 30 years of my life that got the fuller inner circle experience. But for the most part, I lived a guarded, packaged life that was in parallel existence to a well-crafted narrative that I had for people.
I didn’t talk about my eating disorder. There were three whole people in my life that knew anything about it for years.
I didn’t talk about my struggles entering marriage after being cheated on in an engagement.
I didn’t talk about my personal struggle with control and anger and darkness.
I didn’t talk about my own PTSD after trying to manage my ex-husband’s post-deployment PTSD.
I didn’t talk about my gripping fear of failure and repeated struggle against the inner voice screaming lies at me daily.
I didn’t talk about my struggle as a mother. The pain of miscarriages, the struggle with identity, and the days I wished I’d never had children if I’m honest. There. I said it out loud.
I didn’t talk about my struggle with what I now know to be depression. Heck, I didn’t even know what to call it.
I talked in generalities about my struggles. I spoke of hard things happening in my life, and a desire to know Jesus deeper, and lean into good things. But on the whole… I was battling alone. I held even my best friendships at bay with the umbrella of “fine” settled securely over my head so I could pull it down even farther when needed.
It wasn’t until my life came to a screeching halt nearly three and a half years ago that I realized my need for an actual inner circle. My marriage ended in a crash and burn after discovering another affair that my ex-husband was having, and having to come to terms with my own part to play in the demise of it all. We hadn’t gone to counseling, for a number of reasons. I was bitter and angry many days at trying to manage the disappointments and PTSD and intimacy issues we struggled with for years. My attempt at managing the situation was a sad substitute for being vulnerable and getting real help.
When everything fell apart, I realized I couldn’t stand alone anymore. I couldn’t manage reputations and just pull the bootstraps up and keep trekking. I needed people to hold me up in the rubble. To remind me of who I was and speak truth over me. To love me in the midst of the chaos. I needed an inner circle. God, in His absolute goodness, has brought me amazing people in this season of my life that have literally met me in my darkest moments and helped carry me through. These people get the good, the bad, and the UGLY from me. They’ve seen my triumphs, challenged my bull crap, and held me figuratively and literally while I shed tears in the depths.
These are the people that have gotten texts from me in the middle of the night and immediately called me. They fill my phone and mailbox with encouragement and notes that make me laugh and cry. They give the best hugs. They listen to my questions and give healthy insight. They challenge me to think outside my box. They never judge me, but won’t let me make excuses for myself either. They never stop loving me. They show up. Every time.
I was texting one of my inner circle people the other day and we were talking about how she was in a dark place the night before and was hesitant to share some of it with me because she didn’t want her darkness to trigger mine. I responded with the first thing that came to mind and I think this truly defines the essence of what inner circle is.
“I love you dearly for how much you want to guard me. But I will say this… the trenches weren’t made to exist in alone. And the best battle buddies are the ones that know the full breadth of the fight.”
Find your inner circle and don’t let go. We weren’t meant to do life in the lane of “fine.” We were made for community. For vulnerability. And for healing. We were made for so much more that the lies we believe would tell us. Abundance is waiting. And your inner circle can’t wait to experience it with you.
Find them. They’re ready for you. And, to my inner circle… you know who you are. Thank you and I love each of you dearly.
I’m so grateful I don’t need to be in the trenches alone. I love you, dear friend. Thank you.