Ever had a jogger pass you by with a huge smile on his face, singing as he ran? I did, the other week.
I couldn’t help but stare. He looked right at me with the most radiant smile as he ran by, singing “You’re amazing, just the way you are.”
I was having one of those weeks where I wanted to be three people rather than one. You know, go to work and be home folding laundry and cooking at the same time? Or be a perfectly rested, available mom rather than one who wants to sink into the couch with chocolate and movie after work?
Resounding in my ear was this, “You should do better.”
But I was smiling as I walked that day, happy to see spring splash the earth with color. Then, the words of this song from a random runner, “You’re amazing, amazing, amazing, just the way you are.”
I wondered if he was an angel. It had happened to me before, this thing of random heaven sent words from a stranger when I needed them most. Of this I’m convinced—God saw me and wanted me to hear His heart toward me.
The runner didn’t know what he gave me, but it was joyfully given.
Recently I’ve been soul searching this thing of giving. Why do I give to a fault, give til I drop, give til I have no reserves, give in ways that deplete my resources and make me bare to the bone?
Why do I have trouble speaking up for what I need, afraid I’ll be too much, that I’ll be a liability rather than a gift?
Life has a way of teaching you lessons if you don’t learn them sooner rather than later. Here I am at 42 years, finally learning how to speak up for what I need (or even want), and how to say no.
Trust me, it’s been scary. But something snapped inside of me when I realized that over extending myself wasn’t blessing my relationships at all—it was destroying them.
Any healthy relationship must have two parties with a voice. If either one goes silent, there is no real communion of the soul, no true relationship, no way to become better and better, together.
Shutting up is actually shutting down, but opening up about your needs is allowing your friend or partner to fully see you—and that is a gift. For awhile, you may not feel like the gift you truly are, but the more you practice honesty, the easier it will become. You are as worthy of being given to as anyone else.
My best friend called me the other day and the first thing out of her mouth was, “Are you in the bathtub AGAIN?”
We both laughed uproariously. She, because for some reason having me in the bathtub a few of the last times she called strikes her funny. Me, because it does seem ridiculous and a little needy.
Trust me, I don’t live in the bathtub. But, my life requires long hot soaks to relax and ponder, pray and rest—and apparently, talk to my bestie.
I don’t mind her seeing my needs. She’s seen them all for the past twenty years. Literally, she’s seen them ALL. And it hasn’t always been pretty or what she needed or wanted, but honesty is what pulls us close year after year.
I broke free this week, as if the last part of my tongue was loosed. I can now speak up for my needs rather than shut down in need. The lesson has been exhausting but the fruit will be rewarding, even if it’s just a free heart.
Like Mary, I want it to be said of me, “She has done what she could.”
Mary wasn’t asked to do all good things; she was prompted to do what she could. The oil she poured on Jesus’ feet was meaningful because it was given from her heart rather than her performance.
Jesus is looking for women who give to their families and their world, beautifully sacrificial while being just as beautifully human.
No human can give everywhere. Soldiers do not entangle themselves in civilian affairs; it would take away from their mission. They know what they are called to, and they stay focused on what’s before them.
Jesus encouraged Mary when she gave to Him as the disciples condemned her for not giving to the poor.
If Mary had tried to give to both Jesus and the poor that day, she would not have done her one thing well. Jesus praised her for doing one thing well and today we still read of her simple act of pouring oil on the feet of Jesus as the disciples condemned her for not doing more, more, and more.
Mary couldn’t do both, but she could do one. And you sister, in your world and in your relationships, cannot be everything, but you can be one thing—in tune with Jesus Who is in tune with your soul. He knows you have needs, and He wants you to express them. He invites you to give cheerfully, in tune with His heart instead of the condemning voice in your head.
Jesus invites you to certain areas of giving, but the voice in your head pushes you to depletion as you try to be perfectly everything rather than imperfectly human, but perfected in LOVE.
Rather than trying to be perfectly everything, let’s learn what it means to be beautifully something.
“But Jesus said, ‘Leave her alone-why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you want, you can do good for them. But you will not always have me. She has done what she could.”
(Mark 14:6-8, ESV)