Showing Up

This post is part of a new project that I’m working on. Visit Jess Alston’s website to learn more about the Dig Deep Podcast.

I do this thing (often) where I’m late. A friend in my Dig Deep group shared this week that she was running so late that morning, trying to coax her egg casserole into cooking faster, that she spiraled into thinking how everyone would hate her and she should just give up and turn her car around and forget about any attempt to show up.

I get that. I’ve showed up late to a friend’s baby shower because I’m too focused on journaling about the woes of my world of worry. The best is when you’re late to a best friend’s wedding, banished to the back row on visible display for all, because you’re too focused on why you’re not the one up there. Believe me, I get it. This late thing has more complexity than we give it credit for.

Now, I wholeheartedly believe in the power of evil traffic, or underestimating the time it takes to get out the door and into the car. But there’s a harmony that’s broken when we’re late because we’re focused on ourselves.

And, more importantly, there’s a harmony that’s broken, off pitch, when we shrink back with our raw egg casserole, too ashamed to ask for forgiveness.

We’re called to rejoice with those who rejoice, and to mourn with those who mourn. It means we have to show up, no matter how raw the egg casserole ends up, or even if we have to show up empty handed. It’s an entering into harmony with people, doing all that we can to feel an ounce of what they’re feeling alongside them that counts.

What I’m realizing more every day is that we’re not all riding the same rejoicing wave. The timing’s off. She’s over there rejoicing, coasting on her surf board in Maui all wild and free and bronzed, and I’m over here mourning, pale and eating sand, if you will. And you want me to stop my mourning and go over there to rejoice with her? Even when you’re saying I can’t ride that surf board? Maybe. Or maybe she enters into my mourning with me. It’s messy. We can’t wave our wands and all get married, have babies, get promoted, buy a new house at the same time. We can’t all get sick, lose our loved ones, or lose our hopes and dreams at the same time.

I guess that’s how it goes in a harmony, some stay quiet while some are loud. Some enter in slowly, while others lead the charge. We do our best to wait our turn, to trust in the beauty of the rhythms. To know that we all have our moments on the surf board, and we all have our moments eating sand.

It’s the best friends, the special ones, who kneel down to eat sand with you.

Here’s what I’m still chewing on (no sand here) after Marja’s beautiful message at this week’s Dig Deep:

  1. Bless those who persecute you. Marja shared how when we do, we remember that they’re made in God’s image. And it’s a sign of maturity, something our world could use a little dose of these days.
  2. Are we willing to occupy the low position? I hope so. It’s in the humble tasks where we meet God.
  3. These are commands. Not suggestions. Share, bless, rejoice, mourn. These are imperatives. How easily we shift them to suggestions that can feel easier to ignore, or you know, get to later.

Marja described how deception often creeps in and steals the show. It convinces us that no one can handle our snotty, messy selves who show up late with a raw egg casserole.

It convinces us we’re unworthy of riding that rejoicing wave, even if it means learning to surf with our very best friends. Or that no one could possibly understand the taste of sand.

Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone.

-Romans 12:13-17

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