No matter how big and all-consuming our struggles, I believe each of us has both an abundance and a deficit in different areas.
In other words, there are parts of our lives which are going well, and there are sections – or segments – which are not.
Sometimes it might seem like nothing is succeeding – or that we simply have no capacity at all. There are seasons of our life which limit our ability to give to others – such as tremendous grief and loss, trauma, or severe and chronic illness.
But if we really think about it, most of us have strengths others don’t have that can assist the world outside our front door – even if this strength involves just praying while lying in bed… And there are also areas of our life where we can benefit from the help or insight of another.
I think helping others starts with awareness, insight, and the intent to help in specific, God-directed ways.
I love this quote from A21 founder Christine Caine:
“True compassion is not merely an emotional feeling. Compassion isn’t compassion until you get up and walk across the street. Until you allow yourself to be interrupted.”
She says it’s all too easy to mistake an emotional response to someone else’s plight for compassion. But compassion is actually doing something. Using our area of abundance to fill another’s deficit.
What are the needs around you? Awareness starts with prayer and a decision to actually walk outside your door and make friends. Where are the social opportunities around you, and do they provide a space for you to love and serve people?
And what are your needs and areas of deficit? How can you own your needs instead of complaining that no one meets them? Be assertive. Be practical. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need from the people who care for you. Don’t dismiss offers of help – even from acquaintances – because you’re too proud. Accept help – even if just to validate the importance of community and allow someone else the joy of blessing you.
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Matt 7:7)
Allow others to be the hands and feet of Christ to you, and start researching how you can represent Jesus to them.
We all have areas of abundance, and deficit.
Lord, show me where I am resourced to help others. Please lead me to the needs that I can fill, no matter how small. A met need is powerful to the one who is struggling and at their wit’s end. Show me my own shortfalls, and help me to bravely ask others for help, whether in or outside of my family. Above all, in all our relationships, show us more of you, God. You are love, and we are simply your messengers.