Tag Archives: table

Usher or Bouncer?

blog usher bouncer I read somewhere on the internet (I just cringed as I wrote that – I really can’t remember where I read it – sad but true – so much good stuff and I’m always reading!) a great question.  Here it is.  Are you an Usher or a Bouncer?

I love this. Especially as it applies to Christians and church and community.  To me this question is critical.

Which is it?  Are you an usher or a bouncer?

Do you welcome people in, invite them to sit, shake hands, maybe hug, smile, accept, connect?

Or do you shut people out, condemn, judge, deny, disconnect and hurt?

What are we called to do as Christians?  As humans?

I’m thinking of that song, “Rockstar” by Nickelback. “I’m through with standing in lines to clubs I’ll never get in…” Can you hear it? Aren’t we all.  Who wants to “not get in”?

I love to read about Studio 54 and it’s heyday.  I love the music and the fashion and the celebrities and the craziness.  I’m reminded now of the velvet rope and the bouncers and all of the “pretty people” getting in while others waited for hours to be rejected.

Rejection hurts.  Feeling not enough is the worst feeling – not pretty enough or rich enough or smart enough or good enough.  We’ve all felt this way at one time or another and it hurts.

 Karen Armstrong said this: “Look into your own heart, discover what it is that gives you pain and then refuse, under any circumstance whatsoever, to inflict that pain on anybody else.” 

Rejection gives me pain. I never want to make anyone feel rejected.

I want to be an usher.

An usher lightens the load for others.  They say, “Welcome, come in, sit down, we’ve saved a spot for you, we were waiting for you,  you are important, we are glad you are here.”

This is how we build community.  This is how we honor Jesus and His message.  He said “Come to me all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.” He didn’t mention anything about the proper outfit or the right partner or the fancy background or the perfect past.

He invites everyone and when they show up in our lives…no matter where we are…we can usher them in.  If not physically into a place, we can usher them into a feeling of acceptance and love with a smile, a connection, a helping hand.  We can see them.  We can welcome them.

With regards to the church unfortunately I have known a lot of bouncers.  It makes me sad to think of this because so many people have been turned away from Jesus because of the “bouncers” at church living under a false notion that they are in charge of who gets in and out.  It’s sad and it’s maddening and frightening and infuriating and pathetic really.

We are called to be Ushers.

I am so grateful for all of the ushers in my life.  The ones who really know Jesus and His message of Love.  The ones who told me and showed me that to live in Christ is to live in Joy.  They welcomed me and showed me a path to generosity and kindness and non-judgment and wholeness and love and Freedom.

We are all invited.  Jesus is saving a place for all of us at His table.  I don’t just mean His table in Heaven but also His “table” here on earth. It’s good to know when we get to the table – no matter the path we took to get there and no matter the shape we are in when we finally accept His invitation and we show up… He will be there with open arms to usher us in.

©2013 Sue Bidstrup  Great Big Yes™  All Rights Reserved.



Alone in a crowded room?


I read a review of a book in the Tribune today.  It’s written by a veteran of the Iraq war.  I read the interview with him and he talked about how it’s difficult when you get back from war and you feel like you don’t fit in, like nobody understands you.

I also read a blog today that talked about the high school lunch room – a mom was writing it and talking about how when she walked into the lunch room as an adult, she described it as “terrifying”.  Meaning, now, as a mom, it’s still terrifying.

Then I was at my son’s football game and a mom came over and started talking about how her son is from out of town and he doesn’t know “a soul” on the team.  She didn’t put any judgment on this – she didn’t say it was good or bad but I could feel the underlying anxiety.

Those examples are just from today.

Every day holds its own capacity to make us feel alone.  Separated.  Unknown.  Every situation requires us to show up, step out, and hold our head up.  It’s exhausting.

What comes up for you when you are reading this?

Put yourself in the position of walking into that lunch room or that party or the PTA meeting or the open house or the new job or the football game or the new class or the new church group.  How do you feel?  How do you show up?

A friend told me to pay close attention to what comes up for me in these situations because that is what I need to wrestle with and uncover.

Here’s what comes up for me.

I want to be known so I get super talkative and friendly.  I want to be heard so sometimes I get loud.  I want to be liked so I don’t say anything remotely important.  I want to fit in so I dress nice and clean up that day – sometimes I’m literally uncomfortable with too low jeans or too high heels or spanx that make it hard to breathe but I look relatively good and I fit in with all the other ladies (who I’m guessing may also be uncomfortable).

So…In summary, I want to be known, I want to be heard, I want to be liked and I want to fit in.  (Geez,  I’m trying not to judge myself but that looks really sad in writing.)  The problem is sometimes these things get in the way of me being what I really want to be which is honest, real, vulnerable and connected to others in an authentic way.

I’ve been paying close attention to this stuff for a while now because I’d say a few years ago, I became aware of feeling “not good” sometimes when I was out in groups.  I couldn’t put my finger on it but I felt not like myself.  Not supported.  Not real.

I’m sure many of us have felt alone in a room full of people.

I got sick of the conversation.  I got sick of hearing about how everyone else’s kids were “thriving” while I felt like mine were just struggling to find their way.  I got sick of hearing about the Ivy League college scholarships that were being pursued while I was still dealing with speech therapy and trying to get my kids to brush their teeth.  I didn’t want to talk about traveling soccer or the 20 camps other people’s kids were in.  I didn’t want to complain about how much I was driving and how much it all costs.   It felt like a competition I did not sign up for.  I was bored and kind of irritated.

This is not an indictment of other people.   I could make it that.  I’ve tried to make it that.  I’ve tried to complain that the problem is this town and its affluence or this culture and its shallowness or this world and its lack of direction.  But none of that is true.

The first step to real transformation is truth.  And the truth is I wasn’t living authentically.  Nobody made me go to those events or have those conversations or wear those jeans.  Those were choices I made even if they didn’t make me feel good.  And sometimes, truth be told, a lot of those times were fun and I did feel good.  It worked until it didn’t.

As I’ve gotten older, I have felt the need to regroup and reconsider and redirect.  I have had the nagging suspicion that there was more to life…that there might be a more genuine way for me to show up.  I’ve realized I can make choices that lead me to live the life I really want…the one with honesty and vulnerability and authentic connection with others.

All of those feelings that come up…those are promptings from God…little holy nudges…asking us to bring awareness to how we feel and to make changes if they are warranted.

I’m not saying we will never again feel lonely in a crowded room but maybe we won’t feel that way as often.

The good news?  This is not Junior High or High School.  You do not have to do what everyone else is doing.  You do not have to change in order to find a seat at the lunch table.  You can create your own lunch table…your own life.  And when you create a life from a place of authenticity…people will be lining up to sit with you.  And that will be a lot more people sitting together, feeling less alone.  And that’s a really, really good thing.

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On that note…Flourish starts this week!  Woo-hoo can’t wait!! It’s not too late to join us! 

On another note…I’m sorry I’m not including audio each time like I said I would.  It’s too difficult to find quiet time to record it!  You would be hearing dishes clanging, children talking, tv noise, music, the washing machine… who knows what!  I will just have to include audio when I can find some quiet time to record. (This is just until my husband buys me that farmhouse with a renovated barn/office/ yoga studio) 🙂 .  Thanks for understanding. 

©2012 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™ All Rights Reserved
Pictures from Pinterest http://pinterest.com/greatbigyes/

Weather Forecast is Good

Here we are again.

It’s Thanksgiving.

My son asked me the other day, “What are we going to do this year for Thanksgiving Mom?”

What does he mean? We are going to do the same thing we do every year. We are going to have family over. We are going to eat turkey and stuffing and potatoes and too much pie. We are going to watch football. We will play games like Rummikub and Bananagrams and Scrabble. We are going to feel stuffed. We are going to start a diet the next day. C’mon, he should know the drill by now. It’s the same every year.

Does it have to be?

There are things about Thanksgiving that are tradition, they are good and we don’t want to change them such as the turkey, the stuffing, the potatoes and the football. But there are other things that sometimes come up that aren’t as good such as family grievances, grudges, judgments and arguments. There’s something about being with family that takes you right back to the past. You have a role to fill in your family. Maybe you are the youngest or the smartest or the most successful or the screw up or the religious freak or the confrontational one or the alcoholic or the lost soul or the entertainer. There are expectations of everyone at the table.

Does this have to be the same every year?

Can you break out of unhealthy patterns?

My husband was looking at the weather and noticed it’s going to be 60 degrees outside on Thanksgiving. He said, “This changes everything!”

I love that. Indeed, it does.

We can be outside! We can go on a walk! We can jump on the trampoline! (Okay, that’s a little overboard considering last time I tried to do that, it didn’t go so well…why does it make me dizzy and out of breath?)

Outside, we are not bound by any expectation. We are still who we were but we are free to become who we are. The windows and doors are open and there is an air of possibility.

It’s a good metaphor for family and growing up really. We keep what works and we give thanks for those things. We meet at Thanksgiving to remember and to celebrate and to give thanks inside at the table. Then we go outside to create new memories…memories that are based on who we are now.

When the day is over, we face a challenge. Can we leave that door open regardless of the weather forecast?

This year I am grateful to God for infinite possibilities.

©2011 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™ All Rights Reserved