Friday, July 27, 2012

It's Good to Be in Need

I used to be a Lone Ranger
I left home when I was seventeen and moved 2,000 miles across the country to go to college.  I loved my home and my parents, but I was convinced I could make it on my own.  And I did.   Life changed dramatically for me in the next few years and I adopted a "I don't need anyone, pull myself up by my own bootstraps " mentality.  It was great for survival, but not great for relationship building.

When Curt and I got married, his biggest complaint was my default mode to independence.  Any sort of conflict would sent me into my independent retreat mode.  His gentle plea of "I need you to need me" eventually began to soften my hard edges.

Over the years, I've learned to allow myself to be in need.  There's something so freeing about confiding to a close friend, "My life feels like it's swallowing me whole right now.  I really don't know how I'm going to keep moving forward and hold everything together."

I've also learned to receive help.  It's much easier for me to bring a meal to a friend who is ill than it is for me to allow my friends to do the same for me.  I don't like NEEDING help from anyone.  I LIKE thinking I can manage it all myself.  But that attitude is really pride masquerading as false humility.  It takes tons of humility to say, "Yes, I would love for you to come over and scrub my toilets because if you don't, I have no idea when in the next century they will get cleaned."

Yesterday I had lunch with four of my Sistas from Haiti.  We sat in the shade of a big tree at a park, munched on lunch, and caught up with each other.  Four women from different walks of life and different generations.  Strong women who have supported husbands and raised children.  Successful women who have worked in the real world, some of them rubbing shoulders with really important people.  If anyone has it all together, it would be these women.

the beautiful Sistas I went to Haiti with (and our security team)

But one by one, as we shared about life, the things we revealed were not our triumphs and successes, but the areas in which we're struggling.  The conflicts of our soul.  The struggles of raising kids.  Our fears and insecurities.  The way life can overwhelm us and swallow us whole.  As we shared, the burdens were lifted and a spirit of deep satisfaction descended on our group.  We needed each other. 

Proverbs 27:17 says, "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another."  As I lunched with my friends, I knew that nothing could be more true than this.  We finished our lunch by huddling in a group, holding hands, and praying specifically for each other in all our neediness.  I can only imagine what all the people walking by must have thought...

we all need a friend who holds our hand while we march together into the Great Unknown

As we headed back to our cars, one of the Sistas pulled me aside.  She said, "Hey, I'm free tomorrow afternoon.  Can I come over and help you clean your house so it's ready for the two parties you're hosting this weekend?"  Excuse me?  Did I hear you correctly?

My first thought was, "No way!  I'm fully capable of cleaning my own toilets.  I would never wish that on anyone else."  But I remembered how good it feels to help someone in need.  And I remembered how we just talked about how life-giving good friendships are.  And I remembered that I was drowning in things that weren't getting done.  So even though it went against everything in me I said, "Are you sure?  Cause if you are, I'd actually love your help.  I'm not sure when else I'd get it done."

This afternoon we had a cleaning party.  My Sista worked her tail off - sweeping and mopping my filthy floor, wiping down finger-smudged windows and doors, scrubbing dirt off the walls, dusting, vacuuming and making my house look better than it has in months.  While we cleaned, we shared more of our souls.  And before she left, we prayed together.  Can you guess what we prayed about?  Our areas of need.  It was beautiful.

I was so overwhelmed by her love for me that I posted a thank you note on Facebook.  Within minutes another one of our Haiti Sistas replied.  Wanna know what she said?  "A cleaning party?  And you didn't invite me?"  I smiled and replied, "The next time I have a meltdown and need to be rescued, I'll be sure to call you too."

You know what?  It's good to be in need.

What about you?  Have you allowed yourself to receive the love of your friends through acts of service?  Have you reached out to a friend in need and felt the joy of sharing her burden?  If so, will you share with us so we can all be encouraged?

1 comment:

  1. Dear Jodi!
    I am call! Praying for you and your family too. Enjoy your 4 precious ones these next 6 weeks... you will never have this summer with them again. AND, do call! :)
    Love, Beth