Lean on Me - She Seeks - Week of May 27

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{lean on me}

from someone who doesn't have it all together

I couldn't help but notice the three words printed on each entrance gate at the ski hill's chair lift. It read: LEAN ON ME.

It was a literal instruction to every skier like me waiting to catch a chair up the hill. We had to lean our weight on the bar until the gate opened, jolting us onto a Jetson-like treadmill thing that carried us along like a piece of luggage on a conveyer belt. We did this until the chair whisked us around the corner and picked us up.

It sounds more complicated than it really is, but I just wasn't used to it. I had skied this mountain my entire life, and this new feature was throwing me off. I couldn't help but think, What happened to the days when you just did it yourself? No leaning. No gate. No treadmill thingy to help you along. You did it yourself...and that's the way I liked it.

Then it hit me. Leaning on gates at the ski hill wasn't the only thing I had a hard time with. I had a hard time leaning on people and things in life.

I suppose I have always been perceived as a strong person who seems to always have it all together. My little sister even said to me once, "Is there anything you struggle with Ali?" Whether it was exams in school, a break-up with my boyfriend or friendship conflicts, nothing seemed to faze me. I was good at handling things...on my own. In college, I felt like others shared my independence. Most of the people I knew seemed to be operating in much the same way I was, with an internal voice that said: Don't dare let anyone know what you're really thinking, feeling, fighting or fearing inside or they might figure you out. They might actually see you don't have it all together after all.

By nature, our world sells a "do it yourself" culture, though the Bible so clearly promotes the opposite.

"Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you..." (Psalm 55:22)

"Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." (Galatians 6:2)

"...lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." (Proverbs 3:5-6)

It was never God's intention for us to live independent of Him or each other, but interdependently with each other. It was never His intention for us to 'tough it out' or 'get through it' on our own strength, but to share our burdens and problems with a sense of openness, acceptance and vulnerability.

Just like the gate at the ski lift, letting others into our 'stuff' can at first feel intrusive, unnatural, uncomfortable and awkward. But just like anything else, it requires practice. Here are a few exercises to help you get started:

• Ask yourself: "Am I being real or am I just putting up a front?" Sit quietly with a journal and pen in hand and ask God to help you get in touch with your inner self. Ask God to reveal emotions you might not be aware of or that you might be covering up. The first step to leaning is being aware of what you are feeling.

• Make a decision to call a friend this week and tell them an area/issue you are struggling with. Ask them for support, encouragement and prayer.

• When is the last time you cried? Tears can be a healthy sign of your humanity and the ability to feel. The next time you have the urge to cry, let it flow! If you rarely have the urge to cry, pray and ask God for insight into why. Let your tears be a like a river that brings refreshing and renewal to your soul.

As I have learned to let down my guard and let people inside my world, I have felt the most free I have ever felt. As I have gained the courage to admit I don't have all the answers and I don't have it all together I realize...no one else does, either.

Resources...

But Jesus says, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:28)

"Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." (Isaiah 40:31)

Entrusting the Key: From Serial Dating to Joyful Waiting by Ali Smith

Behind Those Eyes: What's Really Going on Inside the Souls of Women by Lisa Whittle

Ali is gearing up for a summer of reunions with close friends and family in various parts of the country, including New York, New Jersey, Maine, Texas and North Carolina (for She Speaks Conference!). She can't wait to start wearing that brightly colored nail polish again and bust out her favorite hot pink sandles. Ali speaks on topics related to her book, Entrusting the Key, and is also working on her next book. You can get updates on her blog at http://alinsmith.wordpress.com/.

Check in with Ali over at She Seeks.

© 2011 by Ali Smith. All rights reserved.

www.SheSeeks.org
A Division of Proverbs 31 Ministries

 
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