So often we talk about showing up for one another.
How to be a good friend.
What it means to be family.
But what about letting others help you when you are in need?
Recently, my Dad was diagnosed with cancer. It was scary to get the diagnosis. It was scary waiting for more details. So much waiting.
Someone generously paid for me & my brother to fly down to Florida. So that we can hug them, love them, & help them with some house projects. Why did they generously help us? Because I was willing to ask.
I may have avoided eye contact, & fought with all my might against the shame, that tried desperately to condemn me, for needing someone else to buy me a ticket, to visit some of the most precious people in my life. But…
I need to hug my Dad.
I need to hug my Mum.
I need some down time, to talk over all that we can predict the future holds for us.
I need this.
I need it so much that I was willing to humble myself & ask. I asked if I could borrow it, without knowing how I could pay it back. So the words stumbled out of my mouth…if I can figure out a way to pay you back could I potentially borrow the money for a ticket?
Generous person: I don’t think I would lend it to you, I think I would just give it to you.
This is grace.
An immediate drive to the bank. So open-handed. So loving. Leaving me with tears of gratefulness.
Today I asked my Dad if I he would post a status on Facebook if I texted him. The status would ask for help & a ladder for us to borrow.
He said he would. I sent the text. He called me.
It was obvious that he was struggling with something. He finally was able to verbalize…I don’t ask for help. I guess I’m just selfish. Or maybe I’m just prideful. But people don’t show up & then I feel angry but mostly disappointed. Then condemnation comes in & I think about how they don’t show up because of me.
Soooo…I’ve been known to give the occasional loving kick in the butt. But friends, in this moment, I felt nothing but empathy & understanding.
I had just said a week before…I don’t ask people for money, I hate asking for help. I fought the same condemnation, like it was my job! Because it totally is.
Then he said, what’s worse is that if a bunch of people do show up this time I will wonder if it’s because they are pitying me because I have cancer.
But Dad aren’t we all like that? We suddenly make time for the people that we see are really struggling. I know that when you hear of someone who’s going through a particularly hard time, that you make time to help, when other times you may not. That doesn’t make you a bad person. But it also doesn’t make others bad either.
I continued…it sounds to me like you’ve set it up so that people can’t win in your life. & that just sounds like you’ve handed over all control of your feelings to others.
Don’t put your joy in someone else’s hands
Don’t put your peace in someone else’s hands
Don’t put your value in someone else’s hands.
Give others opportunity to help. They may not show up. Don’t worry about that! Just let your needs be known, without expectation. Keep showing up for others when they need help & keep moving forward.
I added more…& Dad? I would also encourage you to do something that I’ve been trying to be more intentional about lately…maybe it would help you too.
Often when people are asking how they can pray for me, after letting them know, I follow it up with asking how I can pray for them. I have a short list of people who I’m committed to praying for & you know why? Because it’s so much easier to believe for others. I start praying for someone else’s need, then immediately after I remind myself that the things I believe God could do for those I care about, He can do for me as well. The God I believe He is for others, He is that God for me too.
THIS is why we share our struggles with others. Not to get attention. Not to get pity. But to allow others the opportunity to pray for us, show up for us in tangible ways & also remind themselves of who they believe God is & apply those beliefs to their own situations.
Friends, we often believe that we are noble & dignified to keep our struggles to ourselves. Silent suffering was the definition of dignity for the generations before us. We were told to rely only on God. To only need God.
But you know what? God made Eve for Adam. In my opinion that was simply God saying to Adam, I love you so very much but I know you need someone else like you. Adam, you need people. So he made more people! Because He loves us.
The fact that people need people hasn’t changed. God is still God. & no people can’t replace God. But if we decide to live life transparently, trust God, & show up for each other, I truly believe we could experience a happiness that many of us haven’t yet experienced.
So yes, show up for others. But also, let people know what you’re going through! Don’t be afraid that you are taking away from what someone else is going through. Just recognize that God cares about the diagnosis, the job frustration, the broken marriage, the bee sting, financial troubles, & stubbed toe. He cares about it all. He is not comparing our needs & deciding that one of us is selfish because others are going through much worse. Every need matters to Him. So we should care about every need without comparing as well.
As I finished up the conversation with my Dad. I let him know that I wasn’t trying to be pushy or bully him in any way. I said I’m not trying to shove you, but I am trying to lovingly nudge you.
So Friends, let me lovingly nudge you as well. Here’s your opportunity to let me know…What is something I can pray for you about? I’d love to lift you up! If you decide to comment below I promise to pray for you & your specific need. No matter how big or small.
Let’s truly keep moving forward together Lovelies.
The Mess in Me Honors the Mess in You