As you start this week…

….friends, I gotta be honest. I’m utterly and completely exhausted. I’m writing this on day 12 of separation from my family (though by the time this publishes, I’ll be in my own bed with my favorite person next to me, glory hallelujah). (I’m talking about my husband there. Just clearing things up.)

So my benediction to you today is a personal takeaway I felt burning in my soul the past two weeks, as I participated in three different conferences, where we talkedtalkedtalked about three vastly varied topics, all of which I love. My takeaway is this:

We are pretty great at talking. But sometimes, we’re not so great at doing.

So as you start this week, whatever it is you’re passionate about, learn about it—read the books, listen to the smarties who can teach your socks off about the topic, and become that person who loves to learn. And then talk about what you’re learning, debate the real issues, and inspire passion in others. But don’t forget to roll up your sleeves and get to work.

Real life, where we make a difference and change lives and love on people, means getting dirt under your nails. Love is the liturgy of bringing a mug of coffee to a friend and asking your older neighbor if you can mow her lawn. It’s offering to babysit for that mama who desperately needs a break. and it’s helping deliver donations to the food shelter, even when you don’t have much time and have people to feed under your own roof. Don’t just talk about the nobility of simple living so that others can simply live. Do it.

Take care of yourself, yes, and read the books. Lord knows I’m passionate about both. But we are made for community, and community is made up of people, and people are needy and imperfect and worthy of our love. Don’t forget to the do the daily work (and yes, it is often work) of loving.

You are loved. Pour out that love to others. Take care of yourself, friends—I know I’ll be sleeping a bunch this week to make up for lost time the past twelve days. But show love, too. Show love.