Learning to Love

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This past Sunday, one of my good friends’ parents hosted a small, intimate ‘thank you’ brunch.
Her father began (as anyone born between 1950-60 would) by quoting a famous Streisand
song: “People who need people are the luckiest in the world.”

Wait, what? How is that true?

That challenges my every instinct. Needing people makes me, well, needy. Right? Maybe not. I’ve been learning the hard lesson that the degree to which I allow myself to be available and vulnerable to others is a direct reflection of how available and vulnerable I am to the Lord: To His teaching, healing, filling, fixing. Ah, but being vulnerable to others opens us up to be hurt and disappointed! Yes, but it also opens opportunity for deep relationship and authentic community…allowing God to move through us in deep and powerful ways together.

Truth is, my friend’s father was thanking a group of friends for helping to keep his daughter alive. She has Type 1 diabetes and within the past year or so has developed a condition known as ‘hypoglycemia unawareness’–which means her body has lost its ability to alert her when her blood sugar is dropping. If left unchecked for too long, dangerously low levels of blood sugar can result in seizures, loss of consciousness, or far worse, death.

Every morning, for a couple years now, my friend texts a group of about eight people letting them know she woke up. Once every couple weeks, that text doesn’t get sent and one of the eight need to go over to her apartment and literally pour orange juice down her throat to get her blood sugar levels back up and help her regain consciousness.

My friend’s diabetes forces her to need friends in a very real and daily way. And the truth is that her friends appreciate the opportunity to give, serve, and love–and she has learned to receive that love gratefully, humbly. The irony is that, for most of the people I know–including this friend and including myself- admitting need and asking for help is an incredibly hard and humbling exercise.  No one I know likes to need something from others. Even more ironically, in my immaturity, I have worn that as a badge of honor.

Yet these past years have been a lesson in vulnerability and availability for me. I have found that there is a strong relationship and parallel between my availability to the Lord and my availability to those in my life. And, in relationship with one another, deep sharing and giving is only possible when we are courageous enough to be vulnerable.

When His love fills us, with joy we begin to see others as He sees them –as He sees us– daughters, heirs, made beautiful in the image of God for his glory. And as we learn to see each other the way He sees us, by the grace of God, we will begin to learn to love each other as He loves us–fully, freely, deeply, richly.

All of us need–and all of us can more generously give the love that has been freely given to us through Christ.

“Lord, give us eyes to see each other and ourselves more nearly as thou sees us, to see beneath each face we meet, and beneath even our own faces, thy face.” Frederick Buechner, The Hungering Dark.

Love,

Kate

Do you believe it takes courage to be vulnerable? How have you been courageously vulnerable in your own life? Are there areas of your life you feel challenged to let others into?

KATE SCHMIDGALL IS THE FOUNDER OF BITTERSWEET CREATIVE – A SMALL, LOCAL BUSINESS THAT PROVIDES CREATIVE SERVICES TO CLIENTS AND PUBLISHES THE BITTERSWEET ZINE (PRONOUNCED ZEEN…LIKE MAGAZINE). KATE LIVES IN DC WITH HER HUSBAND DAVE AND THEY SERVE TOGETHER AT THE NATIONAL COMMUNITY CHURCH. FOR MORE, FOLLOW HER ON TWITTER AT @BTRSWTCREATIVE OR @BTRSWTZINE.

Author: beautifulyou

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10 Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing! Such a good truth we need reminded of!

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  2. I really like this. Many times we think that a spiritual person would get everything they need directly from God, But, the truth is that God often works through other people. when we shut out the people He has placed around us, we shut Him out. Great stuff!

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  3. Great post Kate! Thanks for sharing with us…and yes it takes a huge amount of courage to be vulnerable…I think the only way to do it, is to be intentional daily on overcoming insecurities and what WE need…and continually look at what we can GIVE….xx

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    • Kate I love how you presented this idea that we need to recognize our need to have others in our lives…SO good because we can be pretty good at being independent and doing it all on our own…yet every person we invite in, makes our world larger in so many ways!

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  4. This couldn’t have come at a more perfect time! Over the past few days, my younger son has been hospitalized. We have had to rely on family and friends to help us get through this challenging time. Kate, you have encouraged me to accept and embrace the times that I need to be vulnerable, while also learning to show Christ’s love to others in their time of need.

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  5. “I have worn that as a badge of honor.” Where I come from that is a rule we live by. I, like everyone else there, was raised with that as a motto. I never even really thought about it until I read this blog entry. My whole life I’ve striven to uphold the level of “independence” that was instilled in me and probably carried me through the hardships of adapting to a new country in lieu of a relationship with God.

    But, what is my excuse now that I do have a relationship with God?

    Thanks for this blog entry – it challenges me to be more open to those people that God has put in my life.

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  6. Thanks for the great reminder. Sharing personal stories always touch our hearts. God brings people into our lives to reach our hearts. Be open and receive love from God.

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  7. Thank you very much for this post and for the story. I can’t imagine the dedication and love from those 8 people. I was proud of my independence and I think sometimes I insisted on it. But I have also been seeing/learning that life is richer when we lean on each other and go through the seasons together, with people and God. This is a good reminder and an encouragement. 🙂

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  8. This is sooooooo GOOD, Kate! Thank you for sharing. Been there, am there, bought the T-shirt, WEARING the t-shirt! I’ve always prided myself in my independence…yet God has brought me to “need” people more than ever in the past few years. I LOVE that last quote from The Hungering Dark. Awesomeness.

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