Do you have people?
This question matters, and I’ll tell you why. It’s for times like this.
The last couple weeks, I haven’t had it in me to do a lot of showing up. But I haven’t had to. My people did the showing up for me. The relationships God has been building, before I knew I’d need them, have been there to support me in my moment of lack. I was covered in prayer. I was given space and grace to be absent until I’d recovered enough to return to the land of the living. Prayers came from everywhere to encourage me in my spirit, when my faith was growing quite weak.
It wasn’t always this way. I used to struggle alone. I battled, alone. And when I returned to the land of the living, no one would even know that I’d struggled. I’d leave the people out of getting to show up for me when I was in need. I was pretending I could do it all on my own. I was fooling myself. Inside, I was crumbling. I just didn’t know it.
When the storms came on strong, I didn’t know where to look for help. I’d weather them as best I could. I would try to stay strong. It never occurred to me that there might be another way. This was the only way I knew.
But something has changed, and it’s changing me. It’s the people. God’s people. It’s letting them in.
I’m getting to see God show up in ways I’d never imagined. In a mighty way, through them. Their faith-filled prayers go up when mine are weak. The collective prayers of many gain strength from my weakness. It’s tragic that I used to settle for my own defeated prayers in the face of doing battle. And it’s an enemy tactic. Our enemy has us convinced that it’s better to hide, and to posture. We wait it out until we feel stronger. We want to maintain an appearance of having it together. How fooled we have been! The community is for the times when we’re weak. We show up spent and defeated, and the brethren steps in. The sisterhood. They hold up our arms, like Aaron and Hur did for Moses. They pray prayers we can’t summon over promises that sound more like fiction than truth. And God hears them.
Community remembers who we are, when we can’t. And it matters. Trust me, it matters. In ways that reach farther than even meets the eye.
These words I write now are a picture of that. When I feel like I have to say important things about uncertain times, I don’t have it in me to show up. But when I come as I am, God meets me here. He always does. It’s a quiet confidence.
It doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a practice. It’s over and over again, and getting it wrong all the way to getting it right when you finally do. Only to discover there is no right or wrong in this thing. It’s showing up to figure it out. And people to do it with, even when you can’t.
Are you tired bearing your burdens alone? Are you too exhausted to posture, and say the right things? There’s a cure for all that, and it’s a great place to start. Healthy confession is good for the soul. If it sounds super scary, start small. See how it feels. And build on that. Let the people doing life alongside you begin to really see you.
Take it from me. The day will come that you’ll be really glad you did.
“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” Proverbs 17:17