|| T H I R T Y ||
So here we are day thirty and I have thought all day about what this last post should be about. I had a couple of ideas, maybe going through another list of honest realities because that was a good start to this whole challenge.
But then... the idea of saving kept coming to mind.
I have a superwoman complex, I really do. I would stupidly be attracted to guys in hopes that I could be the Jesus they needed to see. I say yes to people when everything in me wants to say no because I feel bad. I live way too much out of obligation, out of the thought that I owe people my time, my energy, or just me in general. Who needs me, when do they need me, can I be there? Doesn't matter, make it work. --- That's how my mind thinks on the regular. Did I say something that everyone can relate to? Were my words too singular gender focused? If people are married could they feel as if they were included in what I said? Did they impact everyone? Did I save everyone today?
Did my words act as a life boat to everyone they encountered?
I leave events and automatically have the thought that the words I said, the love letters I shared, just bounced off of people and against the walls turning into dense and meaningless noise. If my hands aren't big enough to "save" everyone then maybe my words are. Everything in me has this immense desire to keep everyone from drowning, from hurting so that they don't have to live through that (which is unrealistic because honestly those painful experiences are such necessary parts of life) but in my frail attempts to do so, I am blind to the presence of the water above my own head.
I realized not too long ago that these words are far from being for me and once I started getting into the habit of actually putting them out there, the response i have received from people has been a tremendous blessing. The texts, the emails, the messages I read all of these many times over---they are my life jackets. You aren't saving me but daily encouraging and keeping this flame underneath me and I am so very thankful for that.
It's not about us saving one another, it's simply about us coming alongside the other person, slowly slipping our fingers through their own, just to give them the softest reminder that someone is here. Someone cares.
There is a story I've heard a few times (I believe a fictional one) of a boy who tried walking on the shore in attempts to save every starfish he came across by throwing them back into the water but was exhausted and burdened by the fact that he couldn't. That boy is me, that boy is a lot of us. All we can do is try for one and if that succeeds, try for another and then another and then another. One at a time, slowly and one at a time.
I usually don't share these but today I received an email from a mom who attended the last conference I did. She told me the impact that I not only had on her but on her daughter. She referred to the moment when I shared my poem at the conference and said,
"...When I looked over at her listening to you, she had tears streaming down her face. It was the beginning ... of her letting go ... and beginning to allow Jesus into some of the hurting holes in her heart. "
I had tears in my eyes after reading this and had to pull myself together right before ordering a muffin at a coffee shop.
This. I thought, this is why I do this.
Not for the lights, not for the applause, not for the saving. After reading this email, I knew that this is what I needed to share for my last challenge post. A reminder for myself, a reminder for others that there is hope, you can be a hope for people. Not a savior, not a superhero but the simplest reminder that it's okay to let go and let Jesus in-- the one who can save, the one who can truly heal.
Your hands are not big enough to save everyone.
But they are big enough to hold a few people, to intertwine your own hands just to silently cheer them on. Hands big enough to hold a pen and send a few love letters.
We will grow weary and burdened with the weight of trying to do it on our own. We were built to be in relationship with one another, to walk each other home or wait there and keep the light on, but not to save. You were not born with a cape on your back, you were born with flesh. Flesh that is a constant reminder of how much it is not your job to save people. That spine of yours is only strong enough to carry the backbone of one person not a handful.
The mom ended her email with these words and it left me sobbing yet again. She wrote,
"Thank you for your encouragement and the glittery mess you leave behind. You are helping and touching many hearts through all that you are doing."
O h. m y. h e a r t.
So I challenge you - focus less on saving and more on leaving glittery messes everywhere we go. Less on saving and more on tucking a little bit more solace in the darkest corners of peoples lives.
Saving ....honey that's not your job. But loving, daily encouraging, rooting for people on the sidelines and being little glimpses of hope---you can do that.
I believe in you.