There comes a day in every life when it is time to say, “Enough!”
Enough waiting to do what you really want to do.
Enough hiding behind excuses.
Enough ignoring and avoiding what needs to be done.
Enough hoping for just the right opportunity.
Enough expecting someone else to make something happen.
It’s different for all of us. And there may be more than one time that we have to say, “Enough!” Really, now that I’ve written it, I know that’s ridiculous. Of course, there will be more than once that we have to say, “Enough!” Probably dozens of times.
I’ve had one of those times this year. A time to say, “Enough!” And to mean it. And then to revel in it. And then to see and experience the good in it.
It’s not a mean-hearted “Enough!” It’s not aimed at any person. Instead, it’s a talking to myself. It’s an “Enough!” that tells me that it’s time to tell myself only the truth that comes only from my God and to let the lies of the enemy fly over my head.
Are you there?
Are you shaking your head in agreement with me?
Are you ready to say, “Enough!”?
Shout it with me…
Today I’m joining my Five Minute Friday friends at www.katemotaung.com. Every week we write for five minutes on one word. This week’s word is Enough. Come and see what everyone else has written!
To be honest, I put off reading the book until a friend was grieving the loss of a dear family member. I had to know what to say to her and what to do for her. I’ve read the book twice since then. I mentioned it in my post Best Books of 2016, but I really need to tell you more about it and convince you that you need to read What Grieving People Wish You Knew.
My first impression of the book is that it is a perfect example of what correction in the church should be. The reader is lovingly called out for mishandling grieving people and then shown how to handle the problem in a way that is solidly based in Scripture. Nancy Guthrie’s kind and loving unwillingness to allow us to dodge the problem and her generous and open sharing of ways to help our grieving friends has given me a great respect for her. More than that it has made me eager to hear her and to follow her advice.
So let’s get on with it – let me give you a taste of her advice to those of us who want to know what grieving people wish we knew. Here are just three from the first chapter entitled “What To Say (And What Not to Say)”.
1. Say Something
Saying nothing tells your friend that her loss was not important – that her loved one was not that important. Saying that you are sorry for her loss is better than saying nothing at all. Nancy also points out that is important to say the name of the person who died. They haven’t disappeared as if they never existed. They have died and the grieving family needs to know that they are not forgotten. Remember that your words won’t fix what has happened, but they can let your friend know that she isn’t alone.
2. Don’t Compare Their Grief to Yours
Before my friend lost her family member, my mother had died. I thought I knew what she was feeling, but the truth is that I didn’t at all. Hearing about your experience is not helpful until and unless your grieving friend asks. This is a time for us to practice humility, keep ourselves out of it, and make it all about our friends. Which leads to another wise piece of advice.
3. Take The Grieving Person’s Lead
People handle grief in so many different ways and in so many different time frames. We must purposely determine to be listeners and to be companions in the journey, allowing the grieving friend to lead in what she wants to talk about and when she wants to talk about it. Nancy writes, “…there is great power and comfort in simply showing up and being willing to sit in the silence and listen to the person who is grieving give voice to their regrets…fears…complaints…rehearsals of the events…questions…chaotic thoughts, conflicting feelings, disappointments, desires, and despair.” Let your grieving friend talk.
These three pieces of advice are just the tip of the iceberg of this lovely book. There are pages and pages of quotes from grieving people telling us what to do and what to say and what not to say to them.
Nancy Guthrie also talks to us about what to do for grieving people. When someone dies, we so want to do something to make it better, but there are only so many casseroles a grieving family can consume. What else can we do? Nancy gives us a whole chapter of ideas such as leave messages on the phone, send notes, mark your calendar to make contact on the anniversary of the death, share photos of the deceased that the grieving friend may never have seen, and bring stuff like toilet paper and paper plates – common things that may get forgotten until they are needed.
There’s so much more I love about this book – the insight into the true feelings of grieving people and the loving encouragement to stand by a grieving friend. There’s no condemnation of our reactions to grief in the past – just truth to help us to minister to grieving people now and in the days to come.
Embrace. More than a hug. Fully wrapping your arms around it and holding it…
God has been teaching me to embrace several things in the past few months.
Embrace the way He made me…embrace what I see as good and what I see as bad knowing that when He put me together He said it was very good.
Embrace the gifts He has given me. Don’t hide them. Don’t neglect them. Use them for His glory and to encourage and equip His people.
Embrace critique. I don’t like this one. I still shy from it, but I am learning that when I embrace it, it doesn’t hurt nearly as badly as I thought it would and it makes me better at using my gifts.
Embrace change. I really don’t like this one. And yet, it shakes me up and makes me look at things more closely. It makes me examine myself and see more changes that need to happen – that I need to embrace.
Embrace trial. Does anyone like this one? I don’t think so. And I don’t mean embrace it like you love it. I mean embrace it so that you can get everything out of it that God intends. Embrace the endurance that it builds in you. Embrace the strong faith that comes out of it. Embrace the knowing that God never leaves during the trial.
Embrace community. For some of you this is no big deal. For me it is huge. To step out of my tendency to be a lone wolf. To turn away from thinking I can do this on my own. And finding out that community is what I have been craving all along and didn’t know it.
And finding out that when I embrace community, I am really learning how to embrace the way He made me, the gifts He has given me, critique from people who love me, change with the help of friends, trial alongside brothers and sisters.
I think I am getting it.
A little late this week, but I am joining the other writers at Five Minute Friday writing on the prompt word – Embrace. You can join us at www.katemotaung.com.
Too long I’ve looked at friends as something I want and need when I should have been looking at whether I was putting in the hard work necessary to be a real friend.
So what does it take to be a real friend?
Unselfishness. Why is it so hard to put other people before myself? That is what a real friend does! A real friend looks at those around her and sees their needs and looks for ways to meet those needs.
Grace. A real friend clearly sees her own sin and the grace that God offered her and is able to offer that same grace to her friends.
Time. A real friend takes the time to do the hard work of listening without an agenda, without checking her text messages, without thinking about what to say next. She freely offers her time to her friends.
Honesty. A real friend is not afraid to tell truth about herself and she gently tells her friends the truth about them to help them to be the best they can be.
Love. A real friend loves with a 1 Corinthians 13 kind of love – the kind of love her Savior lavished on her. She’s not stingy with her love. She’s not conditional with her love. She offers her love freely without expectation of a return.
Hard, hard work, but so very worthwhile. And really, just exactly what our Best Friend calls us to be to the people around us.
God, help me to be a real friend!
I’m joining my friends at Five Minute Friday in writing on the prompt word – Friend. Please come along with us – write about friends and read what others are saying about friends. You can find us at www.katemotaung.com.