I Don’t Need You; Right?

My hip rolls in and out of joint more times than Taylor Swift rolls out of relationships. Usually, popping the rebellious joint back into place takes less than a minute. A few short stretches and my fragile body is back in tiptop shape and able to keep up with my not-so-fragile heart. Yesterday, that wasn’t the case at all.

When I bit back a scream after standing up, I knew I needed help putting my hip joint back into place. Out of desperation, I quickly filled my boyfriend in and threw together some random instructions on what he needed to do. As he started doing exactly what I told him to do (all of which was entirely made up on the fly) I had a terrifying thought:

What if I’m making him do the wrong thing? What if I actually break my hip? Was this a dumb idea? Maybe this was a dumb idea.

Mercifully, the exercise worked. The pain went from a piercing stab to a simple sore spot in no time at all. But that sore spot has been on my mind all day today. In a way only God can, He somehow drew a correlation between my need for help physically and my need for community spiritually.

There was nothing I wanted more than to hide my pain from my boyfriend. It had nothing to do with his character, ability or trustworthiness. I just didn’t want to look weak. But my need overrode my pride.

I wasn’t too sure he knew what he was doing because, let’s face it, he wasn’t getting fantastic instructions. He’s (obviously) stronger than I am, though, and I needed his help whether I understood the outcome or not. 

Often times, I treat my need for prayer – my need for Christian spiritual community – the same way. Being vulnerable and telling the gut wrenching truth to a trustworthy source doesn’t happen because what if they think I’m weak?

In the same way, I often times don’t let them help me heal spiritually because I’m unwilling to trust that maybe God can use their wisdom in my life much more than he can use my own.

There have been times I’ve reached out to a trusted friend about a struggle and walked away thinking, What if telling him/her was wrong? What if letting them know makes my life worse?  Am I trusting them too much? Was this a dumb idea? Yes, there have been times where I’ve made a mess telling someone my struggles. But as I became wiser in learning to look for what characteristics made someone trustworthy, those people I turn to now are often times my key to diving deeper Spiritually.

Just like correcting my hip, becoming more like Christ can hurt like the dickens. Sometimes, an unaddressed sin becomes all we can think about, growing so large we can’t see past it. It’s during those times that asking a fellow Christian to be a shoulder to lean on and an additional voice in the Throne Room of God is the most crucial.

The reality is, sometimes we don’t heal until we allow room for community.

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The Refugee Next Door 

“All ten of my children and my husband were killed in my village. I was left for dead. This was because we believe in Jesus. God will always be worth it. Now I just adopt anyone I meet from my country here in the United States. I am ‘Auntie’ to many. God is so beautiful.” 

I choked back tears as I cherished her smile so wide it could be seen from two states away. The dear woman next to me was considered royalty to many countrymen yet she is alone with almost nothing. 

Refugee. It’s no longer a political statement to me. It’s no longer something to vote for or against. It’s a people to embrace, serve and enjoy. “Refugee” includes a story, a heartbeat and utter love towards the smallest consideration of relationship. 

***

“I asked Refugee children who arrived here to Clarkston, Georgia, recently to draw their homes as an art therapy excercise. All of them drew their homes in flames, their family’s bodies disfigured and they drew just all around absolute loss. They smiled big because I brought paper. They were overjoyed because of paper.” 

While in Clarkston, I learned the heartbreak of hearing innocent children recount the death of family members as if everyone understood having war in their backyard. As they wrapped up their story, they would lean in for a hug, look at me and then ask if I’d play Tag. 

They’d laugh like they were listening to Jimmy Fallon when told an intentionally lame joke. Even the non-Christians had hope in their eyes because they knew English & had achieved their dream of being in America. 

***

“What brought you here?” The southern man drawled as he sat next to me. As I explained the week long trip to help various missions in their projects for the refugee community in Clarkston, his face grew grey, unwelcoming and fearful. 

“Ma’am, we have refugees here?”

“2,500-3,000 refugees from around the world every year are brought into Clarkston, Sir. It’s a need that won’t go away.”

“Why aren’t you afraid of terrorism? What if they kill you?  None are from Syria, are they? You know what they’re all doing in Europe, right? You’re f*$!in’ crazy. Thanks for what you’re doing to help… people.” 

***

I learned to step past the fear of broken borders, unknown languages and misunderstood religions. I grinned from ear to ear talking to a Muslim devotee about traffic. I giggled over my tired yawn with a Hindu follower. 

As Americans, we fret over borders, terrorism and being “run over” by foreigners. Humbly, to those of you that claim Christ, I ask you to remember God commanded us to love even when we didn’t understand the person or people receiving and needing that love. 

We’re called to love people and trust God for our protection and needs….. So, the question isn’t whether we accept the refugee population around us. 

The real question is: Do we want to put actions to our words when we say that God is big enough to keep us secure when we stretch out on a limb to obey His commands? Or are we just too spoiled by our easy lives to even try?