A couple of years ago now, a dear friend of mine told me I needed to meet this girl, Christine. At the time, I honestly thought I had enough friends (which now sounds like a ridiculous notion!) and didn’t really want to put the effort into any more friendships. But I agreed to meet her. A few moments in, I knew I liked her. Since then we’ve shared our hearts over pumpkin spice lattes. We’ve worn pink mustaches together in public in the name of celebrating our dear friend who introduced us. We’ve been dubbed the “happiness guru twins” by our chiropractor (which I’m not too sure what that title means exactly. But I’m totally on board with being twins with Christine!) We’ve cheered each other on during our membership in the long-distance dating club (LDC). We’ve sent emails and mail to each other from across the country and sometimes the world. And in this season, in answer to my prayers for a writing buddy, Jesus gave me Christine, all the way from the Philippines to cheer me on.
Here we are at the coffee shop of our brave friends, October 2015.
(L to R) Christine, my daughter, me and Marjorie (our friend to whom we owe heaps of gratitude for her friendship matchmaking!)
Christine is a tremendous cheerleader and friend, but more than that, our hearts tend to be on the same page as we dive into the everyday mess of what it means to follow Jesus. She sent me this glimpse of her heart a few days ago, and with her permission, I share it with you here:
While standing at the sink doing dishes this morning insecurity swept over me and the desire rose clearly to my mind: I want someone to tell me that I’m doing a good job.
I want someone to say:
You are working hard in your language study, and you’ll get there.
Your house is a mess, but there are happy people here.
You turn over clean sheets just minutes before your guest goes to bed, but you do have an extra bed and it’s being used well.
You have chosen to push through your fears and step outside today.
I know why the thought came to mind immediately. Lately I’ve heard that I’m not working hard enough or putting enough hours in my language study. I feel like I’m failing. I also feel like the language is not coming as fluidly as it did before my time in the States. I feel like I’ve hurt myself, that my chances of really learning have decreased and it’s my fault. I feel like I’m not doing enough.
I thought about who I most want to hear this encouragement from. My mom? No, though I know she’d say it if I asked her to. My husband? I appreciate his reminders that I’m doing a good job, but even that doesn’t go deeply to where my soul thirsts.
And what if I don’t hear it? What if I never hear it? What if, instead, I hear:
You language ability isn’t where it should be for living here this long.
You don’t have kids and you don’t have a normal full time job, so why isn’t your house more clean?
Why aren’t your reimbursements finished and your business goals for the month started?
Why haven’t you reached out more to your neighbor, who you can tell is hurting?
Why haven’t you coordinated with the woman across town to deliver her package?
Why haven’t you…?
But what if those are good points? Valid questions?
What if to someone, my language isn’t good enough?
My house isn’t clean enough?
But what if I take time to sit and write.
Take time to sit at the feet of Jesus and worship him.
Take time to take care of my body and get the sleep I need.
Take time to pace myself in a season of an aching heart.
Take time to sit beside my husband and little pug.
… take time to ask God what He wants me to take time for. And then take time for that.
Who am I waiting to hear from? Who am I asking to hear from?
Lord, let it be only Your words and Your truth that my heart thirsts for. Let me seek only Your approval and not the approval of the men and women around me. Let me not hide myself from people for fear of their disapproval; let me walk boldly ahead with confidence that comes from loving and serving You and You alone.
Thank you for being so brave in sharing your honest heart ponderings with us, Christine!