There are days when a topic, idea or theme seems to come around more frequently and I can’t help but wonder why or what I need to learn from it. Today the theme is supporting people whether you agree with their decisions or not.
A dear and trusted friend told me today, “You’re a good friend to support people no matter their decisions.” This was after an hour long conversation with another very close friend about a third friend and the decision the third friend was making. Is there something God is wanting me to hear in this? Or share?
I have found that the people who typically give me their advice on what I need to do have not really listened to me and do not know my heart. Oh, they see they outside manifestations of what I do but they don’t listen enough to really know me. They don’t know what I’m hiding, what I’m afraid to say, what I’m afraid to do, what I’m too stubborn to do anyway. They don’t listen. A year ago I was attacked by a man at my church for a decision I had made. He doesn’t know me. He has never asked me any questions about who I am, where I am with God, whether I pray or what my hopes and desires are, nothing about me. Yet, he knew the right answer for my situation and knew God knew I was making a mistake. Do I believe God speaks through people? Definitely. Do I believe there are prophets among us to share a word from God? Certainly. Do I believe God would send someone to me who I have no relationship with, no trust in, who doesn’t know any of my story or what has happened to me, to tell me what I need to do? No, I just don’t believe that.
Now, I cherish the opinions of the people I draw in, the people I am able to share my heart with, to confess to, to dream with and who pray with and over me. These are the people who are the closest to knowing the true me, knowing my heart, as there is to God. I have found they offer opinions but spend more time listening and in prayer than talking. I see Jesus in them. Jesus knows me yet He doesn’t even tell me what to do. He leaves things to my will and in that moment, I hope I will learn to listen to Him more than make my own choices.
I see where my choices have taken me. I’m divorced, I’m separated from my children, I’m unemployed and I’m scared. That is where my choices have taken me. I also see where my mistakes have led me. Closer to God. Sadly, I learn too few lessons from all the times I’ve done the right thing, the better thing, the thing I have prayed about and listened to the Spirit. I glide through those and am happy they worked out the way they did. It’s in my mistakes, my failings, falling flat on my face in agonizing pain that I have learned to draw nearer to God, that I have allowed myself to become a little more intimate with Him. Are my friends any different?
I support my friends but not always their decisions. If they ask, I will give them my opinion, I will pray with them and over them and then I will support them. If God is leading them to green pastures and still waters, I want to walk with them. If their decision is leading to a crash in the desert, I want to walk with them. God has given me insight and experiences to share but He knows their hearts better than me, He knows His will for them, I do not.
I have walked through green pastures with my friends when I thought their decisions weren’t the best choice and I have walked through hard times with friends when I thought things were looking up. God knows their hearts and I am here to show His love. I pray for my choices and for those of my friends. I am learning to trust God more and more with my circumstances and I can more easily trust Him with the circumstances of others.
I hope the people around me will simply love me through thick and thin. I hope I will simply love my friends through thick and thin. Only God knows. Only God knows what is right. Only God heals wounds. I can love. I can encourage. I can cry and pray and share in joyous victory.
The Skit Guys made a statement in a video called The Chisel that sticks with me. “You have never let God down because you never held Him up. He holds you up with His mighty right hand.” I am not holding my friends up, God is, and I they will not let me down. Oh, there may be hurt and pain. I’ve seen the collateral damage I’ve left because of choices I made. Still, it is only God that holds me up. It is only God who’s strength I need in the end. He knows me. He knows my heart, both the beauty and the areas that need more refinement. I will be there for my friends to lean on and I will remind them that God holds them up, He provides the foundation and He has the answers for their life. Just as he does for mine.
I hope my friends will be there to lean on, to help me see His will and to work through the rough spots and share joy in the good times. I hope I will always be that person for them too.
Grace and peace.