Sunday, September 17, 2023

Well-Meaning Words

"God's timing is perfect." We hear this saying a lot from well-meaning friends.  

There are times when frustration happens in our lives. We unload on someone close to us, or share the burdens of our heart and we are met with, "You know, God's timing is perfect." 

And it is. Oh, how it is. 

God is never early and He is never late.

But I can't help but think that these words can almost come off as uncaring, if we aren't careful in our delivery of them, and our timing of them.

I know for me, I am very well aware that God's timing is perfect. I trust in that and I am thankful for that. But sometimes, I don't need to hear them tossed back my way. I'd rather someone let me know they are sorry for what I'm going through, that they understand, or some other encouraging, heartfelt, meaningful words. So that I know they CARE.

I get it. It doesn't mean someone doesn't care if they say, "you know - God's timing is always perfect." But if that's ALL they say? To me, that comes off a little... well... uncaring. 

What people need most in those moments is someone THERE in the moment with them. They mostly need to feel heard. And when platitudes are given, it can almost feel like we are a burden to someone else. That they are letting us know we aren't trusting in God enough, aren't patient enough, aren't (fill-in-the-blank) ENOUGH. And maybe we aren't. Maybe we will look back and wish we'd handled a certain situation better, stronger, wiser, or calmer. But that's probably a given for most all of us.

When someone trusts you enough with the vulnerabilities of their heart, take pause. It doesn't mean they don't have faith that God will show up. It may simply just mean they need a friend to walk alongside them through it.

So although God's timing IS indeed always, always perfect - maybe we can aim a little closer to "perfecting" our heart's reply to someone in the moment.

Because, maybe, JUST maybe - God's timing? God's timing may be intended to come through us in just the right words at just the right time.

Saturday, June 24, 2023

It Means More Than We Can Imagine


When we touch each other in a moment of grief, pain, doubt, loss… it means something. It means more than we can imagine.

If you cry alone, you feel alone. But if you cry with someone holding you; their arms around your shoulders.. you may still feel alone, but you KNOW you are not. Whether or not they can understand your fear or pain at what is to come, at what is happening, there is something about that grip of another, that helps.

Rubbing someone’s back - holding their hand - wiping a tear from their face or pulling back their hair - those guesturesj MEAN something. They stand for something.

We are not in this life alone. 

We don’t feel pain alone.

We don’t have to weep… alone.

And whether or not we understand, we all know how it feels to hurt. How it feels to lose. How it feels to be scared.

We can stand by and watch. We can say, “I’m sorry.” We can glibly offer prayers. Or we can be there. We can touch. 

I know I want to be there. To offer what little comfort I can to someone else. To give them strength they may not be able to summon themselves. To offer love.

And I know I want someone there for me. When the tears fall down my face, I want someone to comfort me not just with words - but with the love that comes only from their touching embrace.

We underestimate it. But it is invaluable.

Be there. Love.

Touch. For we are all human. And it’s better to go through the tough moments together….than alone. 

Friday, April 7, 2023

Love Is Not Self-Seeking


We put so many unfair expectations on each other.

The pressures and weight we place on each other is too much for someone’s shoulders to bear.

No one can meet the expectations we place on them, all of the time. And even if they meet them some of the time, they probably aren’t genuine. Not if we clearly lay them out before them. No. They are met out of guilt, or to keep some sort of peace in the relationship.

Love does not place expectations on someone else’s plate. 

Yes, there are certain boundaries that need to be upheld in relationships. Certain character qualities, and morals that need to exist for a healthy dynamic. I’m talking more about physical and emotional expectations that are only there to meet some sort of inner need put in place by the person who lays them out before the other.

It’s never fair. Never healthy.

It’s control.

People were meant to be free. Free to feel how they want to feel. Free to run life slowly or fast, depending on their personal bent. Free to express their hearts how they want (or don’t want). Free to be quiet, or outgoing.

We cannot, and should not place expectations on our relationships simply because we are insecure, lonely, depressed, anxious, regretful, or you fill in the blank.

These kinds of expectations damage otherwise healthy and normal relationships. They suck the life out of people. 

Maybe we “wish” things were a little bit differently than they currently are. Okay. But other people aren’t “us.” And we can’t make them “us”. 

Sometimes we rate people on our own scale - not on a scale that is tailored to them. And that is never fair. 

We rate their efforts based on the efforts and energy WE have, not on what they have. We rate their interactions based on the interactions WE prefer, not on what they prefer. We rate their expressions and feelings based on how WE think they should be expressed, not on how God created THEM!

And instead of seeing the beauty in the differences, we strangle the life out of a relationship because it doesn’t fit into a mold of where we think it should be.

That’s never love. 

It’s time we love people as they are, WHERE they are. Pray for God to fill in any holes in their lives that need filling, as well as working on our own hearts to be His servants and love others wholly in spite of it all. 

Never placing demands, complaints, regrets, or disappointments onto someone else’s heart.

Love is not self-seeking.

It’s good to remember that.

If we can just let our relationships exist with all their intricacies, we can find joy in learning and sharing life with another human being who adds to our life in ways we hadn’t considered on our own.

This world has enough stress and pressures without us putting it onto each other.

Saturday, January 14, 2023

We Want to Avoid It.....But We Should Walk Through It, Together

“Let’s Focus On Something Happy.”

That is something I hear from time to time when we have gathered with family. We start talking about some relative going through something tough, or some crisis or tragedy that has made big news. And we can get in-depth and long-winded about it - to which, I will inevitably hear someone say “Let’s focus on something happy.”

And listen, I get it. There is a time when talking about the unhappy or sad, has had its place. But you know what? Talking about the unhappy and sad.. also has ITS place.

And all too often we want to avoid it.

How can we learn, grow, walk through life together, or learn how to share both the happy and sad in our lives - if we avoid even discussing it?

Life is not happy all the time. We are all too aware of that. Life is happy, sad, ups, and downs. It has hard moments just as equally (sometimes it feels like more) than good. And we should be able to share, talk, lean on, cry with, and discuss those moments with those we trust, love, and who are closest to us.

Those things do have their place. We can revisit them at appropriate times. We can use discernment when a conversation has run its course and we need to move on. But avoiding them altogether - I feel is a mistake.

So yes. We should focus on the goodness of the Lord. We should be thankful for the blessings, answers to prayer, and joyful times in life that we are graciously given. We should share those with others too - so that God gets glory and honor and that other people can grow in their faith.  But we should also take the time to walk through the deeper waters with one another, too. We NEED to.

No one can keep all the sadness a heart carries to themselves. Nor should they. We are here to be there for each other. To strengthen. To advise. To LOVE.

Let’s focus on being there for each other. Whether that means focusing on the happy…. Or the sad for a time.

Let’s focus on helping each other be better, stronger, wiser, and healed from the trauma we all go through in various ways.

THAT should be our focus. THAT should be our goal. 

And THAT will be our strength. Each other.