If you took an hour per week to get clear about your direction, make an active plan for the future, and voice your fears, what would that do to your life?  Imagine doing that for over 80 hours in 10 days.  Friends, I essentially went through group therapy for 10 solid days on the first leg of the Making Things Happen tour: Dallas, Seattle, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Chicago.  In giving the intensive and asking the simple but tough questions, I asked them of myself every time.  I cried, I laughed, I got angry, I got clear.  Jeff and I publicly challenged each other.  Every time, our answers boiled down and revealed more and more with every city we visited.  Some two weeks later, Jeff and I are back on the road and currently in snowy Nashville to experience the intensive with a man I admire beyond words, Jeremy Cowart.  We are also both sitting here trying to finally blog. (Go, Jeff, go!)  The last 36 hours in Atlanta were so powerful for me.  The brilliant people we met gave me the courage to finally break my blogging silence.  Thank you, friends.

My main goal from the start of this tour was simple: I wanted to learn how to tell my story.  I’ve always feared what people would think of me if I told all of it.  So, up until Minneapolis, I left out several major parts.  It’s funny- I wasn’t even conscious of it.  I had subconsciously blocked certain experiences out of my vocabulary.  I must have said to myself a long time ago, “you just don’t talk about that.”  They were simple experiences, somewhat common, but I won’t tell them here on the blog.  I don’t feel like I can honor those milestones with typed out words.  I’d rather tell you face to face so you can look me in the eyes and see what I experienced and how it shaped me.

In Minneapolis, I was moved by the courage of a couple people in that room who laid it all out.  I said to myself, “ok, if they are going to take that risk, I can and should too.”  So, for the first time ever, I told a a deeper part of my story… but still not all of it.  I felt a shift the first time I let myself answer a hard question and give the not-so-easy real answer. By the time I got to Chicago, something in me knew it was time to tell my whole story… start to finish.  Jeff hadn’t even heard it all.  As the words fell out of my mouth, something in me started to heal, fall away, emerge.  I started to see that, for me, the painful things I’ve experienced are meant to be gently shared so that others can hopefully learn from them and so I can heal through telling them.  Thank you, dear friends, for sharing so much of yourselves and teaching me that being me (aka flawed) is ok in the process.  [insert words big enough to explain what the simple act of telling my story has done to heal my heart]

Let’s be clear about one thing though … Nothing magically happened to me in those 10 days.  I wasn’t struck by lightning or forced to do anything.  I chose to do the work.  I chose to take those 10 days to let myself go there.  I did it because I started to see the me I was as a child- carefree, happy, whole.  I have started to remember who I am at my core. I did it because the people I met on the tour did it too… many times, they did it first. They laid out all their fears, and I followed suit. I did it because, in finally telling my whole story, I realized that life is short and we can’t get these days back. Life is short, but our days and hours are long enough to make a difference… to make good things happen for other people.

A big part of me hasn’t yet processed all of this. I hadn’t blogged since that day in Chicago. I knew I’d never find words big enough to explain my feelings here. But, I couldn’t stay silent forever. So, here I am trying…  It was a daily decision I battled with on the road- do I wake up and live my best life authentically, no holds barred, even if I get hurt?  Or do I shrink?

Stepping into and through our fear starts with a very tiny moment.  It feels like pain, but it dissipates almost instantly… as quickly as fleeting breath.  I let the fear wash over me.  I just got it all out- whether through words, writing, running, singing or laughing.  Somehow, there has been a lot of child-like genuine belly laughter through this process.  I felt the fear and did it anyway.  I let myself open up and trust that God has me in the palm of His hand at every moment. 

There is an incredible power in having our lives simply witnessed.  The power of accountability is in being seen, accepted, and realized as we are right now… sometimes broken, weary and lost.  I’ve started to see that one of the gifts of marriage is that witnessing.  Sometimes you just need someone to listen and see where you are… no advice, no fixing… just understanding.  I now see myself moving forward in ways I never thought possible. I’m so grateful to Ari, Jeff, Sandi, Katharine, Emily and dozens of new genuine friends who have given me that gift in the last 7 or so weeks since this journey began. When I say I’m grateful for the people that have come into my life in that time, there are –again– no words big enough to describe how they have inspired, taught, motivated, humbled and flat out changed me at first sight.

I wake up every day with the choice to continue to do the work or just go through the motions.  It is not easy.  It’s 2:50am and I have a big day tomorrow, but I’m choosing to finish this post -edited or not- because it’s a fear I need to get through so I can move forward. I know full well that this is just the beginning and I don’t even have 1% of the answers.  There are a thousand layers to peel back and I’ve just barely scratched the surface.  But, in simply scratching the surface, my whole perspective has changed.  That 1% has made all the difference.  I know in writing this post, it’s not perfect.  There are volumes inside my heart that just don’t have the words to speak yet.  They will eventually.

I will never forget finishing the Chicago intensive and standing for a moment in the conference room with Jeff.  I said, “Jeff, how did we get here?”  He just pointed up.

Love from snowy Nashvegas,

lc

Show Comments (27)
  1. Tracey Kumer-Moore

    Lara, Tears running down my cheeks as I read this. I have been doing lots of digging too lately. Did PSI seminar in December and uncovered so much. I think between all the rain so far this year and all my tears of recognition, submitting, admitting and committing, its no wonder Vegas is soaked.

    Glad to hear your sessions have been so profound and revealing for you and those who are attending. When do you get to Vegas?

    do

  2. Jesse Ryan

    bravo, lara. excited for you and all the things ahead of you. that’s a hell of alot of genuine thoughts, batman.

  3. Monica Smith

    Girl;

    I am so proud of you for taking up the courage to tell your story. We are not our own and have been chosen by God to fulfill His purposes. We have no idea who we will meet, who will change us and whom we will bless, but we must be faithful in our transparency and vulnerability, trusting that God will carry us through in spite of fear and pain. Continue to trust Him, my friend and know that He is delighted in the work you all are doing.

    Be blessed.

    Monica

  4. Melissa Hayes

    There is something so powerful about MTH with its authenticity and everyone in one room with one similar goal! MTH is changing lives…truly. Such a great blog post Lara.

  5. uberVU - social comments

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by LaraCasey: I finally blogged! Hi from snowy Nashvegas: http://bit.ly/cvu82o Thank you Ari, @jeffholt @mbdemaria and so many friends for encouraging me….

  6. Laura Reaux

    Awesome. I’m so thrilled to be a part of it today. Being true & real. I love it!

  7. Danielle Cococcia

    Lara, once again you have inspired me. Actually, every day you inspire me. Thank you for that post! I am really looking forward to meeting you in person at MTH2010 New York!!!

  8. lydia

    thank YOU for this. your honesty and your vulnerability is much appreciated this morning of all mornings. i needed this.

  9. Jaclyne - Heavenly Blooms

    Hearing your story in Los Angeles was life changing for me to hear… in ways that I can’t explain. Knowing that someone that I admire as much as you struggled at times like me, gives me more hope for the future. You are a savvy powerhouse full of energy, generosity and love… I do admire you and your strength, xoxo

  10. january newbanks

    I loved the paragraph about the power of having a witness to your life..the ins and outs, ups and especially the downs. I think I completely robbed myself of that comfort and acceptance until I met my husband. One of the things I wrote in my journal the night before we married was that he had “made my heart softer and my voice stronger.” I think I finally became completely aware of the power of love and grace when I let myself be weak and broken in the presence of another person. It has opened up a whole new world for me and allowed me to extend that experience to the other close relationships in my life. I loved reading your account of a similar experience. It reminds me to embrace those moments and let them really change me.

    Lovely post. Thanks for being so brave.

  11. Amy

    wow, i hate it when more often than not you can’t find the words! you have really taught people to look deeper into themselves. i think i haven’t even made it through the surface. i want to find me and who i am and what my purpose is! Lara, you have given me the tools and inspiration to go there! thank you!

  12. Emily Ley

    You did it Lara. This is beautiful. This post made so much make sense to me. Thank you for pouring your heart into it :)

  13. Dana E

    Thank you for sharing and being such a positive inspiration Lara!!

  14. Hannah Taylor

    Lara, thank you so much for sharing a part of yourself with everyone you have met so far. I let fear hold me back too much and part of my goal for this year is to stop letting it hold me back. All the while I had the gut instinct to go to the Making Things Happen Intensive and then when it came down to it, I chickened out. I too have been working at getting back to who I really am; I crave the clarity that comes with knowing yourself and your goals. Of having that image of where you want to end up and knowing how to get there. Of being able to inspire others to be themselves and encourage them to do the things that they were meant to do. So thank you for putting yourself out there.

  15. Crystal Rose

    It is so hard to open up, I feel like we all hide layers of our ‘true self,’ Thanks for sharing with us crazy minneapolis peps. We love you for it.

  16. Stephanie Osborne

    “Stepping into and through our fear starts with a very tiny moment. It feels like pain, but it dissipates almost instantly… as quickly as fleeting breath.” – I can feel this Lara! Thank you for sharing the why and the how. Thank you for being who you are and for sharing. I am proud of you. I know you’ve got amazing things in store for that other 99% of the journey. I cannot wait…

  17. Cindy

    Jeff hit the nail on the head when he pointed up! God definitely put you both in my path and my life is changing for the better because of it. Bless you for sharing so much of yourself and encouraging the rest of us to do the same.

  18. Jennifer Stambolsky

    That last sentence is beautiful. It’s been an inspiration and an honor to have met you, and to have shared this process with you. Keep up all your amazing work!

  19. Lauren

    I’ve read this about 3 times, and I’ve saved it to my favorites because it’s so inspirational. You’re such an amazing woman with all that you do, but it’s somewhat reassuring to me to know that you too experience trials and tribulations just like I do. Thank you for writing this and putting your heart and soul out there. I cannot wait to meet you and hear more of your inspiring story!

  20. Melissa

    Love your post! Your blog continues to inspire me! Thank you for being so open and honest.

  21. Jenni Bailey

    Lara, your story – your WHOLE story – is so so so valuable. Thank you times a million for sharing it. You’re a gem. :)

  22. Sarah Boutwell

    Lara,
    Your raw honesty and the way you’ve embraced your story is huge. It’s a huge inspiration to me. I’m working through the fear, and I am OVER letting it rule my life & determine my story. I haven’t fully digested what happened yesterday…but I know that you, Jeff & the entire experience impacted me. Something shifted, and the impossible and far-away dreams seem possible and close enough to reach up and grab. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself.

  23. The Broke-Ass Bride

    I am so proud of you.

    That is all :)

  24. StefanieMiles

    Oh Lara! I’m honest-to-goodness sitting in my living room, with tears just flowing – seeing and affirming Jesus’ faithfulness to YOU in the process – and knowing it’s NOT OVER YET. Big hugs!

  25. Melissa E Earle {Mee}

    Digging is a really good way to describe it. I would say my life’s verb or verse is Prov 25:2 It is the Glory of God to conceal a matter and the Glory of Kings to seek a matter out.
    Aka it is a big gigantic treasure hunt. Treasure hunting isn’t easy. But “go for the gold” in more ways than one.
    -Mee