“I used to want to fix people, but now I just want to be with them.” – Bob Goff
“But the kind of love that God created and demonstrated is a costly one because it involves sacrifice and presence. It’s a love that operates more like a sign language than being spoken outright.” – Bob Goff
As probably stated before, the subjects of these blog posts (besides #AffirmationMonday posts) are mainly ideas to improve who I am in a person in hopes someone else can relate. Or call me out. This is the same. It is all about the subject of availability.
The definition of available is “present or ready for immediate use.” Somewhere between childhood and adulthood, most people lose their sense of availability. Our everyday responsibilities increase, we get busy, we have these “adult” problems like deadlines and meetings and we stop being available. Obviously, this is a generalization, but I do not think it is too far off.
Or, we spread ourselves too thin. We make ourselves too available. We get burnt out. We want to stop dealing with each other’s problems. We fail to bear each other’s burdens. Just since Monday, I have bailed on multiple opportunities to be in community with friends. Because I have spread myself too thin with work and other things going on.
The initial goal of this post was to suggest availability without getting too spiritual. But it just cannot be done. Besides love, I cannot think of a better way to describe Jesus the Nazarene than “present and ready for immediate use.” Seriously. If you have studied His life, you know exactly what I am talking about. If you haven’t, trust me, it is so insane. He is with people nearly all of the time. Because His heart longs for others and community.
Regardless of your spirituality, I think the most important thing we can do for one another is simply be present. Be present or ready for immediate use in all situations. I also think it is where the American Christian church fails the most. We are good at raising money or donating, but spending time hanging out with those we are raising money and donations for (in most cases) is nearly non-existent. Because it is easy to write a check or clean out old clothing from a closet, but bearing each other’s burdens is messy. And uncomfortable.
If we (Christ followers) are to be accurate representations of our faith, we absolutely have to get messy. And uncomfortable. And we have to be available. We have to bear each other’s burdens. And those are the easy things to do. Here is the fun part: we have to truly put others before ourselves. BOOM. I know, sucks. But it only sucks thinking about. In practice, it is the best.
Here are some ways people have made themselves available to me in the past week:
- Two friends drove me around 20 miles outside of town on Saturday morning to drop me off and let me run in.
- I have a very good friend who continually puts up (listens) with my ramblings and problems.
- All of my GChat homies continually brightening my day with brilliant discussion.
How can you be more available to one person the rest of this week and weekend? Let’s start small. It is so easy to burn out by being overly available for everyone. Where have others been available for you? How can you reciprocate and reflect that availability? Let’s go out of our way to be present. And bear burdens of others.
*Editor’s note: There are some gross generalizations in this post. I know a lot of fantastic people who are always available. And willing to get messy and uncomfortable. And bear the burdens of others. Their lives are blessings on all they come in contact with.
*Editor’s (second) note: On a more spiritual level, I think we also have to make ourselves available to God and what He is doing around us. More to come about this later.