Tell me if this sounds familiar:
A friend shares her heart with you, longing for encouragement, and while you haven’t experienced her situation, you find yourself about to give advice.
Suddenly, you realize that the words taking shape in your head and heart are words not just for her, but maybe for you, too.
That happened to me this week. A friend was sharing her ongoing struggle and I found myself thinking about what I wanted to say to her. The words I wanted to say to her were so convicting (to me) that I didn’t dare utter them. How could I suggest words that I don’t actively live by in my own life? Those words could have been detrimental to her spirit as well. I certainly don’t walk in her shoes, dealing with the loss and grief she carries, and I don’t want to appear cold and callous in my attempt at encouragement.
Now you’re probably wondering what it was that I wanted to share with her that could have caused her pain, and that convicted my own heart. Well, they are three small words. Only three. And yet, I haven’t been able to shake them all week.
That’s it. That’s what I was going to say to this lady experiencing so much grief and change in her life, all the while knowing that I’m not even living those words in my own life. I’m still hiding out with my grief. I’m wanting to step out in tiptoe faith, yet I live in a constant state of “waiting for the other shoe to drop”.
And that’s why I had to stop talking to her, and just keep listening. How could I give her advice that I still struggle to heed?
Just show up. That could apply to many things when you’re struggling with grief and a new lifestyle.
Maybe for you, that means getting to work everyday. Perhaps it means getting yourself to church, or out with friends. It could even mean something as simple as getting out of bed everyday.
The lady I was listening to is a mother who quickly and very unexpectedly lost her husband. Our situations are very different, yet similar. And as I know the grief I deal with, I know that there is no way I could suggest to her that she just show up to life. After all, we all carry our grief differently. We each process loss uniquely.
But this prompted some good thinking in my own heart. It gave me time to reflect on how I’m doing at just showing up, and what I still need to do.
In my marriage –
I wake up every day and thank God for the progress that is being made in my marriage. It wasn’t too long ago that the future of my marriage was completely uncertain. Brokenness was not something I expected in this area of my life. And while things are going well, of course there is always room for growth. It takes time, though, and a heart for God’s will – which is what I’m trying to pursue each day.
In my family –
My kids are growing up quickly! I’m excited to see the people they are becoming, but it continues to require a good amount of work. With their schooling, their activities, their music lessons, and with college just a few months away, we have a lot going on. It can be overwhelming to try and meet each need for each child, but I’m learning to take it day by day. The kids have family with them at every step of the way, and that’s what’s most important.
In my relationship with God –
This is the one area that has been my “hiding place”. There are so many days when, regardless of what I’m doing, I’ve had conversations with God in my heart. Sometimes they were pleas for mercy, other times prayers of thanksgiving, other times just talking quietly to God as you might talk to a friend. Some days, though, I can’t say I’ve read all the latest books or learned more verses than someone else, but I can say that God’s promise to guard our hearts and protect our lives is very real, even to this day.
How about you? What areas are you struggling with in your own life? Can you apply the words “just show up” in any way that might benefit you?
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