I usually start every new year with my “word” for the year (this year it is "stand") and a fun day of vision board building. This particular year felt different as the remnants of 2016 continue to carry through. I can’t shake this heavy feeling in my heart that I am not the only one who could use some accountability when it comes to asking for help and being available to help. I’d like to challenge us all to make a pact- a promise if you will.
I will take a hand and be a friend.
This probably sounds very sophomoric but I think we make things too complicated sometimes which leads us to not doing them. I will take a hand and be a friend simply means I will reach out to someone who needs help and I will be willing to receive help that is being extended to me.
Here are a few things I am hoping we all can pledge to do:
I will try to get face to face with someone- to be seen and to see. “I need to see your face.” This is something my friends and I have said to each other over the years. It is so easy to rely on the convenience of texting and sending messages on social media that we forget the importance of face to face time. How many times has someone sent you a note asking you how you were and you said “fine” when you really weren’t? Now, try to do that face to face. Knees to knees. It requires making time and being vulnerable, yes, but it is so worth it. If face to face is not possible because of lack of time or logistics, make a phone call. You’ll hear in their voice if they truly are fine. Be persistent and don't feel like you are being a bother.
I will do the thing that has been placed on my heart to do. How many times have we offered to help someone but it was a kind of blank check of sorts? How about we stop what we are doing, if we can, and do the thing we said we were willing to do. If cooking is your thing make a little more for your friend. If you are out running errands by a friend, call and ask if she needs anything. Send a handwritten note in the mail. Send her a gift card to a place that she can treat herself. Actually schedule time to connect- on the spot if you can. Make a plan to watch the kids. You get my point. Put some action in your intention. We all mean well. We do. But life will blow us in the other direction before we can follow through.
We all live our lives in seasons. Sometime we have an abundance of time, money, energy, etc. and we are in better positions to help someone if the needs arise. We should be investing in people. It takes time to grow anything and that includes relationships. When we are operating in a surplus let’s try to see who we can pour into when our cup is running over.
I will open my hands to recieve and make my needs known. Just like there are seasons of abundance there are also seasons when we are the ones who need support. Life ebbs and flows that way. If you are used to being the caretaker, the strong one, and it feels strange to receive help….get over it. The truth is, healthy relationships require both parties being able to give and receive. If you are the friend that is always saving everyone, are perceived as having it all together and never in need of anything you are doing a disservice to yourself and the people who can and want to contribute to the relationship. Don’t believe me? Ask them. If you are someone who needs help, make a list of things that could really help you. When someone says, “Let me know how I can help.” What would you do if you had free time? Brainstorm ideas. You will be ready with your list. If you are someone who prides themselves in being self-sufficient it may be the biggest challenge. Do it now.
I will take the bold step in asking for what I need even before I need it. Send Out an SOS. In popular usage, SOS became associated with such phrases as "Save Our Ship" or "Send Out Succour" or "Save our Soul". I’ve been doing this recently. Sending out S.O.S.'s. I like to call it “Save Our Sister”. I admit that I do a great job at taking care of everyone else but have found it challenging to ask for help. One way I have challenged myself is to preemptively let my friends and family know what I may need and how I would best receive it.
For example, a recent text I sent to friends, “Please remind me that I am not alone, that I am loved and that God still has a plan and a hope for my future. You can send it in a text, email, call or a message in a bottle- just please remind me when you think of me.” On a great day, I know these things in my heart but on a day when life has steamrolled over you, backed up and done it again a few more times it helps to know ahead of time what words, gestures or support would mean the most to you and then share that with the people you know love you.
Will you make this a priority this year? Will you allow yourself to be vulnerable and available this year and moving forward? We owe it to ourselves. Here's to many warm hugs, ugly cries and feeling the love that was always there.
Are there things that you would add to this list? Comment below with other suggestions and #takeahandbeafriend and let us know that you are joining us <3
Please feel free to share this to open a dialogue with those closest to you or to someone that you think could use this encouragement.