1 Thessalonians 5:11 "So encourage each other and build each other up ..."
I hate going to the gym ... you practically have to tie me up and drag me there. You would probably never see me running on the treadmill if it were up to me showing up on my own. I know it's good for me and that it's important but I don't like it ... plain and simple. The times that I am there and stick with the routine of going are when I am with my girlfriends. There is something about having that support person with you that makes it so much easier to endure. She encourages me while I trudge through and provides the support that I need. In the end I feel so great about going and doing something good for myself !
The same can be true in other areas of our life. We all face struggles at some point in our lives ... whether it be the struggle of a hard day at home with the little ones, the struggle of a crumbling marriage, the struggle of a daunting project, the struggle with a loss of a job or a loved one ... Who can you turn to when those issues hit?
I am a very independent person. I don't like to accept help, I don't like people to know when I am struggling and I often times try to resolve my issues on my own in the quiet of my own little world. It is very hard for me to let people in and see me when I am weak. If I let my guard down, won't people see my vulnerability and look down on me? Isn't it safer to just keep it all in and try to get through it on my own? It is certainly more comfortable to do things that way ...
Over the last year God has been teaching me so much about humility. I've learned that keeping my insecurities, fears and struggles inside just because I am afraid of what people will think about me is pride. Maybe He is letting me face these struggles because my experiences will help me make an even more powerful impact on someone else then if I just try to comfort alone.
I've been blessed with some amazing friends who have patiently watched me slowly break down the walls of my pride. They stand by me and support me through my struggles, encourage me when I am down and make me comfortable enough to open up about the hard things. When they see me open up and share they are comfortable to do the same. We tackle life so much better in teams and it is so much more joyful to share in celebration when we have made it through together.
God has blessed us with community. He wanted us to have fellowship with others and be able to lean on each other in good times and bad. We aren't made to sit alone and try to fix our problems ourselves. Isn't it awesome that He has given us such a wonderful gift?! Next time you are facing struggles that you are scared of sharing or seeking support about, consider letting someone in. Sometimes He uses other people as tools to do His mighty works in our lives. As with the gym situation, sometimes having a companion walk with you through the daunting situations in life allows things to be so much easier and more manageable. Likewise, we should remember to be on the watch for our friends facing difficult times. Offer encouragement, lift them up in prayer and be the friend that you would want there for you.
What impact has supportive friends had on your life? Do you find that the dark situations are easier to handle when you let someone in rather then dwelling in them alone?