You know...sometimes, the best gift you can give to someone is your acceptance of them when they may not be at their best. None of us says the right thing ALL of the time or chooses the right course in EVERY situation. Think back to a time when you wanted someone to understand and support you; accept and validate you; love and regard you simply because you're a human being with feelings/insecurities and you're prone to miss it sometimes. We all are affected by the pressures of life and sometimes those pressures send us into a tailspin. While we're spinning (smile), it's nice to hear "it's okay" or witness those words demonstrated through a friend/loved one's actions.
A few years ago, I was in a position where I needed this type of support - I had a new baby, was dealing with the serious illness of a very dear friend and was feeling pressure to "be all things to all people" in church, at work and within my extracurricular circles. I was spinning faster than Lance Armstrong in the final stretch of a Tour de France. During that time, I was still me, but I was a slightly different version of myself. I was the 'me' who needed to serve myself first, I was the 'me' who desired understanding and patience from those who professed to know me. I was the 'me' who was struggling to connect with normalcy and a SENSIBLE routine. The more I desired balance, the more I felt it eluding me.
The truth of the matter is that balance was always there - it eluded me because a part of me felt obligated to give and give...and give some more. I learned that people will take from you as long as you are giving; sometimes with no regard to your desire to maintain balance. It's the unrelenting expectations of others when you're in this spiral that warp things a bit. So, here's what I want you to catch from this message: No matter what, you are ALWAYS in control of your actions. If you give beyond your breaking point, don't expect others to feel remorse and certainly don't blame them for still wanting a piece of you - you were on a roll, right? Your choice to give, to extend yourself, to show up where you didn't want to be, to attend a meeting/service just "to be accounted for or to maintain your holy & righteous persona", to prioritize someone or something over your family, to pay a price you couldn't afford or to give time you didn't have...all of these things were your decision - no one forced you.
We've all been there and deal with being 'there' in different ways. Some choose to shut others out, some choose to lean on others and some don't choose anything. I chosse to put my family and my needs first and have not regretted it one single day. Still, being in this place can be lonely and confusing. Look for signs of this "emotional spinning" in your friends and loved ones. When you observe it, don't walk away from them. Pray for them, seek them out and ask if there is anything you can do to help. Share with them what you've observed and get them to talk.
Genuine and activated concern for someone's welfare is one of the most precious gifts you can give to a friend. When you pause to check in, you are proving that your acceptance of them has no limits; even when their acceptance of themselves does. My, my, my...that's powerful! Sela.