Last week, I wrote about being The Good Samaritan – being the church – to ourselves first. As in, working on our own stuff.
I stand by that statement, but have you ever felt like the time you’re taking to work through your own ‘stuff’ is a waste of time? Like, whatever you’re struggling with is keeping you back from doing the work you’re really meant to do?
If so, you’re not alone.
It’s frustrating when I want to be of use to the world around me, but all I can manage, some days, is to keep doing my own work, at what feels like a painfully slow rate.
I’ve realized something about my own work, though.
It’s this: My work is of use to others.
My personal growth is a blessing to those around me in more ways than one.
And so is yours.
Now if you’ve ever been the short-tempered parent, the ungrateful child or the less than committed employee, don’t go getting the wrong idea. Yes, becoming more even-tempered, grateful or reliable is of use to others, but that’s only part of the blessing of working out your own kinks.
If we’re honest about it, our journey from brokenness can bless people just by the telling of it.
Here’s what I mean…
A friend of mine’s Mom is going through chemotherapy right now.
With Cancer, we are physically broken but it also brings with it fear and tests of faith. It’s not generally a happy place.
But the other day, when my friend was updating us, I noticed a definite upswing in the mood of her recounting of recent events with her Mom.
“A man at her church, who has been through the same treatment for the same type of cancer, reached out to her, so Mom has been talking with him. And, no matter what I say to encourage her, his words hold more meaning because he’s been there.”
Why would a stranger swapping war stories be a high point for both Mom undergoing chemo, and daughter supporting her?
Three little words: I’m. Not. Alone.
(Two words and a contraction, if you’re going to get all grammar police on me.)
Seriously, though. How comforting is it to know that someone else has journeyed this way, and made it through?
And that’s where we all have a service to do, even amid our own messiness.
In his book, It’s Not What You Think, Jefferson Bethke has a chapter about brokenness, where he writes about wounds and scars.
Don’t be afraid to tell your story. Don’t be afraid to show your scars. You may be able to bring light to a topic and help others…
That’s my whole point, in a nutshell. Be encouraged!
Every untruth you dislodge from your thinking, every aha! moment you have, is an opportunity to have an impact on someone else’s life.
Because – and here’s a truth for you – for every step you take, there is someone stepping into the place you just moved out of. And you can look back and tell them to keep going, that they will make it.
Everyone suffers wounds in this life. If you can show someone your healed and restored scar from the very wound they’re currently suffering with, you can give them hope.
I’ve said it before. God, in my experience, isn’t going to pull out his magic wand all that often.
What he’s done, in my life, is provide people – guides – who can say, “I’ve made it through that and so can you. Let me share my journey and walk with you on yours.”
But that’s not what I feel called to do!
For me, while I may be called to a writing career, my service to people is going to happen along the road to becoming a professional writer. It’s not that I will become a well know, professional writer in order to serve.
Maybe that’s what God does. No magic wand. Just people who have been there, sometimes to point the way, other times, simply to say, “You’re not alone.”