Tuesday, September 10, 2013

WITHness

 There’s a funny sign I saw recently that said something to the effect of, “I can’t wait for you to come over so we can sit in silence and play on our phones.”   And while at times I am just as guilty, I can’t help but wonder why we feel increasingly lonely and isolated, even in a room of friends. 

One of my greatest passions is to grow and see others grow in the area of being WITH someone as they share a piece of their story, their SELF.  For many it is a risk to talk about the deep things of the heart.  What I’m realizing is that every person has a different definition on what “deep things of the heart” actually are.  For one friend it is telling about a struggle at work and another it is about a struggle in marriage.  Truly is there anything like presence? For a few moments that person knows that they matter, they are important, heard, valued and hopefully leads to an ease in the ache of loneliness.  What a gift to be seen and to SEE.  The power of WITHness leads to life change. 

Think of the people in your life that just the mere sitting down across from them can trigger tears….tears because you feel safe and vulnerable and there is no pretense.  You need to hang on to this friend, because what they carry is sacred.  What they offer to you is their very self.  Jesus fully alive in his sons and daughters, loving with no thought of cost or what’s in it for them.  We need more sons and daughters like this. 

I want to call out sons and daughters who are okay with silence in a group.  Sons and daughters who don’t short circuit a person’s sharing and pain by offering to pray right away……don’t get me wrong. Prayer is great! Needed! But when it is just a way for you to not feel uncomfortable with someone’s pain, then I encourage you to get your squirm under the authority of the Spirit and struggle with staying present.  We could learn a lot from our Jewish brothers and sisters when it comes to pain and grief.  They sit Shiva for 7 days after a loss. Traditionally, no greetings are exchanged and visitors wait for the mourners to initiate conversation, or remain silent if the mourners do not do so, out of respect for their bereavement. They even sit on the floor near those mourning.  There’s something powerful about being WITH. A few months ago I shared my testimony in a setting with people that I did not know well.  Afterwards, someone came and knelt down in front of me and proceeded to ask me questions no one had ever asked.  I was pretty undone internally and was not quite willing to answer. This person’s care and interest was like nothing I had experienced regarding interest in one particular part of my story. I wish I could go back to that moment. What he offered me was powerful. I'd respond differently. I want to be the type of friend who will kneel down and ask the question. 

When someone share’s their story do you give them eye contact?  Do you look around as they are talking? Do you ask questions because you are genuinely curious about that image bearer?  If you are uncomfortable “going there” then that’s okay.  We all start somewhere.  So here’s to you starting today or tomorrow.  Practice giving of your presence. 100%.  Your relationships will change and YOU will change.  Jesus is about relationship.  Praise God he doesn’t have an iPhone or TV because that would get on my nerves.  On this journey of WITHness alongside you.  

1 comments:

Life With Lucy said...

Thanks Beth! Such a good reminder. I think the subtleness of how "distracted" and not present we've become is scary. Thankful for people like you who SO value with-ness to model this well for the rest of us!

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