I feel like every time I sit down to write I feel the need to start with, “I have a confession to make…” When writing a blog, the whole premise is to write what is on your mind. The problem is, I don’t necessarily want people to know what is on mind, because more often than not, it is not lovely. Internally I am a whiner, complainer, grouch and not what I try to present to the world. I try to make it look like I have it all together, flawless. Hah!! Flawless, is that really possible if we are born with sin? Nope. Not at all. Surely I am not the only one. I know from our discussion in Sunday School yesterday that we all try to make everything in our lives look better than they really are. But is that really helping anyone?
What would happen if we were more authentic in our lives? What if we stopped saying we are “fine” or “okay” when people ask? Are we really willing to let people in to the deepest, darkest corners of our lives? Do we really want them to see the ugliness, the hurt, the trials and challenges? I think in those situations we are internally crying out for help, but can’t let people in for fear that they see we don’t have it all together. That help can’t come without being honest. We have to be truthful about what is really going on when asked how we are doing.
On the flip side, if we ask someone how they are doing, we have got to ask because we care, not because that is the socially acceptable greeting, and we have to truly be prepared for honest answers from people. You have to actually care if someone tells you their dog puked all over their new couch, the baby’s diaper exploded just as they were trying to walk out the door, because if they are actually telling you, then it is important to them. If we really want to have people care about our problems, then by golly, we had better care too.
If we truly want to care about others and help, then we need to know how to help. We need to take time to find out the cares, concerns, and trials of those around us. Of course, after you find out what is troubling the people who have enough courage to share what is really going on in their lives, how are you supposed to help? Often times an ear to listen is the very best tool. The best therapy is to be able to spill your guts when hurting. The listener also has to practice the art of keeping your mouth shut. Someone else’s business is never ours to share with anyone else. (I am now quietly stepping down from my soap box.)
Have you ever wondered why you experience trials in your life? I mean major, life altering experiences? Experiences that have you throwing your hands up in the air, crying and asking God “WHY!?!?” Look back at those times, was there ever someone who offered comfort and compassion in a way that nobody else was able to? I am willing to bet that unless comfort and compassion is part of their gift set, that person has experienced something similar to what you are going through. You see, I believe we experience trials so that we are able to minister to those who come after us that need help.
I have had the blessing of others helping me through many trials. Through the loss of my mother to cancer. Going through a divorce. Being a single mom. And most recently a miscarriage. I will tell you, I never would have survived that had it not been for one of my most dear friends. She was able to be there with an ear to listen, a shoulder to cry on, food, prayer, the list could go on and on. Why was her ministering so effective? She had experienced the same kind of loss too. I know she had to have experienced all of those emotions from her own loss, but she selflessly set those feelings and emotions aside and was there for me and my family.
Caring, comforting and helping people isn’t always easy. Sometimes it down right stinks. It breaks open those wounds in our lives that have healed. It’s easy to want to protect ourselves rather than re-live all of that hurt, anger, sadness, etc. But what better testament to sharing the love of Jesus than to use those trials and experiences to help others heal?