This morning we sat in the plastic folding chairs of our Life Group, which felt suddenly hard and uncomfortable in the ear-splitting silence that had come over the packed room of people. I tucked my chin to disguise my tears, and the entire frame of my eyesight grew crowded with the feet of the people surrounding our two chairs. In that moment, my emotions were confusing. Frustration, embarrassment, and because no other word could describe it, resentment. Not at the people around me, but I felt so discouraged at being the chair in the middle. Once again, hands were laid upon us as we stood in the middle of tragedy; broken, weary, with the arms of our community holding us up. I am tired of being the one that needs holding up. It feels like season after season after season of hard has kept us on the defensive, treading deep waters and relying on the people around us to carry us. I am ready to be the one who gets to give instead of always being on the receiving end. It feels selfish, uncomfortable, and humbling.
Humbling…maybe that’s the buzzword. It’s not comfortable to be vulnerable, no one likes to be needy. On the flip-side, isn’t that what we are created for? Community? Yes, I’m sure of it; we weren’t intended to carry our burdens with our own strength.
Perhaps in this long season, God is waiting for me to learn to surrender to being vulnerable, to gracefully accept the help that He provides. One would think that sitting back and letting others tend to your needs would be the easy part, but we groom ourselves to be independent, self-sufficient, mighty in what we can handle. It takes grace and humility to learn to receive with open hands. This is something I first learned from Kara… she implored us all to work at letting people help, at tending to their hearts by letting them do something for us. Still, it’s easier said than done.
We are immeasurably blessed to be surrounded by all the feet in that room. Right from barely knowing us, this body of believers has jumped in with both feet to love us, pray for us, and fill the gaps that we have needed filled. They are the gospel in human form, who am I to let my stubbornness stand in the way of letting community be exactly what it is created to be?
For now, my seat is in the middle. I am weak and struggling and needing the strength and prayers of my people to carry me through. I am confident that one day I will get to stand in that outer circle. I will get to be part of the army that reaches out to link arms with a wounded soul and helps to carry them out of the valley. While I’m waiting, I’m learning to sit, to breathe deep in the compassion that is poured over us, to accept with a humble and thankful heart the many blessings that have been extended, undeserving, to see us to the other side of this dark storm.
How does it make you feel to be the one needing help? Who are the people that are there for you when you’re going through something hard? What stands in the way of you opening your hands to the help of those who offer?