I’m currently reading a new book called Just Show Up by Kara Tippetts and Jill Buteyn. In this book, very personal stories are shared about daily life, unimaginable hardships, and learning to live friendship and this life side by side. She challenges us to “just show up”–literally–in people’s lives. Be there. Be present.
You know the moment…You have a thought to go bring dinner to a friend, or send someone a note, or call someone and see how they’re doing…So when you feel that prompting, what do you do? Because that is the Holy Spirit speaking to you. That is God leading you to reach out to someone else.
This is how we are meant to live this life. We need each other–especially when life gets hard–to live in community.
And not just in the really hard times, though…It’s during the every day stuff, too. We need to be there for each other and choose to walk through life together every day. Encouraging, praying for each other, laughing together, being silly, seeing what “real life” looks like in other people’s homes (without shame!).
The Art of Helping by Lauren Briggs is one of my favorite books on this subject. It helps us see the heart behind reaching out to others, and has lots of very practical ideas for a variety of situations (moving, new baby, grief and loss, hospital and surgery, parenting).
I love that in Just Show Up, this truth is shared:
“And there is freedom in knowing that God made us just the way we are for a reason. That maybe the thing we do well is exactly what our friend or loved one needs.
“We put so much pressure on ourselves to do everything right that many of us decide it’s too hard to even attempt entering into someone else’s suffering.
“The beauty in showing up, in choosing to enter the dance even though you might not know the steps, is that God creates something beautiful from our attempts” (p. 39).
Yes, there are times that God asks us to step outside of our comfort zone and reach out in ways we may not be particularly “gifted” in. But for the most part, God created us the way that we are for a reason. Use your strengths to give to others. You don’t have to say yes to everything, but do say yes to what your heart gravitates toward. If you don’t know what kind of strengths or giftings you have, ask God to reveal them to you. Ask your close friends and family. Think about times that people have said they really appreciated you being there…what did that look like?
Each time is different, and each situation and person will be different. But if we don’t enter in and be present, we rob ourselves and others of a blessing.
In Brene Brown’s book, Daring Greatly, she talks about vulnerability being the act of simply “showing up and being seen.” Most of the time, it’s not “simple.” It takes courage to be present, especially when we don’t know how it will be received. But the decision to obey can be simple. Sometimes it’s the most needed thing right in that moment. Trust God’s prompting in your heart, step out and be brave, then leave the rest up to Him.