(Exciting news! This blog is co-written by Heidi Goehmann and Matt Schuler. Words in bold are written by Heidi. Words in italics are written by Matt. Everything else is co-written. Matt and Heidi will co-author this Fall’s online study, Love Brave.)
Loving brave is something I’ve had to learn.
Loving brave is something I’m still learning, every day. It feels like loving brave has a million teachers. I learn from my wife, from my kids, my parents, and everyone around me.
The fool says loving brave comes naturally. And the fool lives up to his name.
Natural is tucking yourself into your own little life. Natural means pretending we like one another with a smile and a wave, but never knowing one another’s stories. We naturally put up walls, and peek out from our parapets, reluctant to reveal our true selves out of fear.
Natural is playing it safe and keeping thoughts and feelings locked inside because sharing means maybe rejection, maybe shame, and we have plenty of that in our world to go around already. We naturally avoid real relationships because real relationships come with drama and sometimes the only drama we feel like we can handle is handled in sixty-minute chunks on TV.
Men and women alike walk wounded for lack of community and real relationships. Our hearts hurt, we have no idea how to respond to issues like school shootings and mental health struggles. We might be surrounded by people, and might even have one or two real, deep connections, but we want more, not just in quantity, but in quality. We want more for ourselves, for our families, our friends, our churches, our neighbors, and our world.
There are better answers than going it alone. It’s time to learn to love brave together. This is the place where the I Love My Shepherd Fall Online Study comes from.
Join us for a six week online study:
Love Brave: Risk and Real Relationship
We will open challenging conversations about what love is and does, what real relationship is and does, and discover how connection to God and one another offers real healing, real hope, and real meaning.
This study will offer both women and men a place to have real conversations about how we can share truth, faith, and hope together and Love Brave with our families, friends, classmates, coworkers and each person we meet.
Love Brave is meant for all people in all walks with Jesus, those who share life with Him every day, those who don’t quite know where to put Him, and those with an eye on Him from afar. We’ll be asking honest questions, and seeking truth in conversation, empowered by God’s Word. You’ll find the same depth and practicality of all I Love My Shepherd studies, with care and attention for those who are open to having a conversation about God, but are cautious because of accusations and assumptions. We’ll wrestle with truth, love, faith, and hope together here.
What to expect — Six Weeks of study starting September 16th, including:
Matt and Heidi will start every week with a video of honest conversation addressing an everyday topic and the challenge of loving brave, particularly the balance between sharing God’s love and God’s truth with one another. Videos will post every Sunday of the study at 6am on the I Love My Shepherd YouTube channel but you can watch them any time.
We’ll walk through 1 Corinthians 13, words that may be familiar about active faith, hope, and love. There will be blog posts Monday-Thursday to wrestle with ideas involving love and bravery, loving when it’s easy, loving when it’s hard, and the uncomfortable sacrifices love requires.
We’re encouraging you to invite two or more people into deeper relationships with you and with God. Gather people you know and want to know better. Eat, drink and be merry, and use the time to love brave together. Talk about the challenges of life and where and how you want to love brave. Cheer one another on and pray for each other. Use the blog posts or videos to spur discussion, or share the real-life moments you’re walking through together.
For this study we have simple and beautiful resources especially designed for creating reminders and taking notes. These visual faith tools were created by teacher and artist, Jennifer Carlisle. Use them to share encouragement and record your brave thoughts and moments. Sarah from PiecefulJoy will also have some optional reminders we can use in our homes and places. We all need as many reminders as we can get on this road to bravery, don’t we?
A Final Thought
Are you hungry for something real for yourself and the people in your life?
How do we get past living anonymously near one another and arrive at the place of sharing our true selves and our real lives?
What risks in love, life, and relationships scare you?
How can we our relationships grow from love instead of frustration, in our homes and our communities?
Share your thoughts in the comments, or a simple shout out to let us know you can’t wait until September.
This fall we’ll learn, gather, talk, love, and be real.
Prepare to Love Brave with us this Fall.
See you soon!