Years ago it was shared with me that I hadn’t been present for someone I love in their time of need. At the time, my life was an absolute disaster, but they were also facing a challenge and whenever I thought of them, or prayed for them, I would just a quick text to check in. Months later, when it was revealed that my efforts to share their journey were not appreciated as having been desired, I felt crushed that I hadn’t been enough for them. And, angry because at the time I was really isolated and had made the distinct decision to be present as much as I was able.
Walking in desert seasons, or facing crisis, we are often gifted with the opportunity to see just how loved and valued we are. Over the years, I have had some extraordinarily faithful friends call, text, stop by, offer help, and most importantly, pray over me. Doing life together is not easy these days with whirlwind lifestyles and tugs in every direction. Sometimes just a text saying, “hey, I am thinking about you,” can make a world of difference.
It is easy to place expectations on others; to anticipate that someone would know you well enough to know what you want/need at any given moment, AND, such expectations can often set everyone up for failure. When we seek validation in a form that another is not quick to communicate in, or is presently unable to muster, we ourselves become disillusioned and the other person fails at being the encourager they long to be. Perhaps, one of my greatest life lessons being in relationship with my polar opposite, is being able to recognize how others love and release them from what I want, thereby receiving what they are actually trying to give.
There is a great freedom that comes with embracing even the smallest of gestures as the greatest of intention.
Heading into 2018, consider releasing others from expectation. Love freely and allow others to do the same. Embrace that quick email or tag on a silly meme – for in these small gestures, we can know that we are in the thoughts of those who love us.