I am not one for New Year’s resolutions because simply put, I can’t maintain them, but, I am one for New Year’s words. If you’ve ever read anything I’ve wrote, you’ve probably come to realize I have this thing for words. The funny thing about that, is often I don’t have the words to express just why I love words so much. I think it is the idea that words have depth. They can be crafted with other words in infinite ways — and humans are in control of that craft. And we each craft differently, which gives us a voice – a voice that matters and that has potential to inspire. With all that rambling being said, my word for last year was ‘rooted’. Last year allowed the concept of Him being my root settle into my heart. But for this year, He has put on my heart to really learn what it means to ‘show up’.
Now these two words together scare me and excite me all in one. Because showing up involves a lot. It starts with showing up with Him every morning and every part of the day. It involves showing up to the people He places in front of me. And it involves showing up to the places —the hard places—that scares the heck out of me.
Showing up takes a complete alteration of the mind in transitioning from being about yourself to being about Him and everyone else.
I was reading through Matthew 7 yesterday and in verses 13-14 it says; “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”
Friends, we have got to be a part of the few that find the narrow gate. It is so easy to fall in to the ways of this world and to fall in to destruction. Yes, it is hard to follow Him—but, that is where we find life. That is where we will grow, that is where we will have peace, and that is where He works. This year, I want to push myself and push anyone reading to show up this year. Show up to the hard places. Don’t let fear cripple you. Don’t let society hinder you. Don’t let the world pull you into the wide gate.
This whole concept of showing up really began this past semester for me. Like any college freshmen, or college students in general, I had my fair share of struggling. Whether that was physical struggle of being sick or dealing with my head problems, or a mental struggle of feeling lonely, afraid, insecure, too broken, or overwhelmed. And at times I was a true mess and that was familiar to me, but sharing my mess with people was not. Allowing people to walk into my mess and my struggles with me was almost foreign. Ask my roommate —she learned first hand that I wasn’t ready to share my mess or for people to see me in it. But, thank the Lord for being so good and for pushing me because He gave me a roommate who refused to not show up. Maddie began showing up in my struggle. She really loved me in the physical and mental struggle – constantly reminding me of the truth and just being there. And then as time continued, more began to show up. When I was pretty sick one week and cooped up in the dorm, people began to show up and just be with me. Or began sharing their pjs with me because they noticed I had been wearing the same sweats for three days. Or they got my medicine for me. Or brought me some tea. Or encouraged me with a note. This one week of being sick taught me more about Jesus than any other week. For the first time in a while, I was too weak to actually take care of myself. And without request, people chose to show up and to show me Jesus. I had nothing to return to them except maybe sharing my sickness, but even with that in mind, people came into my mess and loved me there and that’s a full picture of Jesus. I have nothing to give Him, but even still He steps into my mess and loves me. And that’s what I think the Lord is teaching me and wants to teach us all.
When we think about the people who have made a deep impact in our life, we think of the people who showed up. For me, the first people I think about are my mom and my young life leaders—people who have constantly showed up in all the hard places of my life. And I also remember far back to my pre-school teacher showing up to my soccer game when I was in 5th grade. Or my 3rd grade teacher showing up to my high school graduation party. Or the friends who came to lay with me in the dark when I couldn’t do anything else because of concussion. All things that no one had to do, but did anyway to show me love—His love.
We don’t remember the nice text messages, even though those are sweet to receive, but we do remember the times people showed up to our house when we were sad or sick or lost. We remember the people who have held our hand and sat in the silence when there was no sadness to mourn a death of a loved one. We remember the people that show up to take you out after a break-up. We remember the people that bring us food and company after surgery. We remember the people that show up to our sports or to our plays.
I believe that showing up is the strongest act of love and one of the biggest pictures of Christ. Jesus showed up and He continues to every day in our lives. He shows up in all our hard places, whether we invite him to or not, and in-turn, He teaches us how to do the same for the people in our lives. And really, that is all He is asking us to do.
So this year, lets show up. Show up in your relationship with the Lord first and then show up to be with people. Show up even when it means you compromise your time. Show up to the hard conversations you don’t want to have. Show up to the things that your friends value. Show up and support. Show up even when there is nothing you can do to help besides just being there.
Presence has more value you than we give it credit for. We are not in control of much, but one thing we are in control of is the places we show up. So, lets push ourselves to walk the extra mile in showing up.
“And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.” Matthew 5:41
Rooting for you this year— excited to see where He shows up in your life, where others show up for you, and where you show up for others. Anytime you experience Him showing up or someone else showing up or you showing up please share— I’d really love to hear.