There's been a statement/sentiment that's been recurring among my friends while in conversation with me over the past few weeks. These friends have a problem or something they're struggling with or needing prayer about something or whatever and they talk to me about it, but then they follow that up with something to the effect of "I can't believe I'm talking to you/asking you for prayer about this when you have so much going on."
Before I say anything else, let me be clear about something: I absolutely, completely understand the reason why these various people have said this. These are the friends that have gone to the Lord time and time again on my behalf, who know what has been going on with my health, who call or text just because they want to check on me. I know how much they care, I know how much they are burdened for me, and I know that they don't want to possibly add to the stress in my life. I get it, and I mean it when I say that their concern for me warms my heart.
But here's the thing. I like being there for other people, possibly even more so when I have my own issues. I can't think of anything that makes me feel more fulfilled than when I am helping my friends, even if it's by doing something as simple as listening to them. No matter what state my body/health is in or what kind of a day I'm having, there is nothing that would stop me from helping my friends in whatever way they need me. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. To be perfectly honest, sometimes I'm in need a distraction from pain or my own problems, and I'm grateful for a completely selfish reason that someone needs me. I usually prefer not to have to think about myself, especially when I'm having a particularly painful day.
Aside from my personal reactions and feelings, it baffles me a little bit that my friends seem to think that because my life is "harder" or "worse" than theirs, that they don't have the right to vent to me about their lives. I have two major thoughts about this.
First, I am in no way any more worthy of prayers than anyone else. They deserve my prayers just as much as I've deserved any of theirs. So please, if you're (and I'm not talking to anyone in particular here) going to let me send you prayer requests and things like that, let yourself send me yours. God doesn't hear a bunch of prayers and think "Oh, this one is bigger/more important/more urgent so let me take care of that one first." Your prayer about getting over a bad cold or finding a new job is just as important to Him as my prayer about healing for my migraines. Also, I only realized this once I found and fostered so many authentic Christian friendships and found a church family, but I believe with every ounce of my being that we weren't meant to do this life alone. Having a community that I can turn to with anything and everything has been such a huge part of what has gotten me through the past year. I think I spent basically all of high school in such major depression because, aside from not knowing Jesus, I didn't have any people that I could reliably turn to. Now, I recognize the huge blessing that is the knowledge that I can text a handful of people and say "I need you to pray about ______" and automatically know that they will indeed pray. I have felt the power of those prayers.
Second, and I've found myself saying this one a lot lately, this life is not about comparison. Do I deal with a lot of health issues that most people don't? Yes, sure. But that doesn't make my life or my story or me any more special than anyone else's (and you can take 'special' to mean many different things). I have several friends who feel that they have had an "easy life", and whether or not that's the case, God wrote their story just like He wrote mine. Everyone's life is unique. None of us got a say in the story He chose to write; all we know is that He wrote each of our stories for a very specific purpose - His glory and our good. And besides, everyone has issues, and I do mean everyone; some of them are just easier to hide than others. I'm one of those people that has a hard time hiding a lot (as evidenced by the almost 4 years I've been on this blog). Every time someone says they feel bad for venting because my life is harder than theirs or whatever, it honestly just makes me feel like they feel sorry for me. I hate pity. I hate people thinking I'm looking for pity (not saying that's what my friends do, it's just how it feels). Basically, my life and my story are mine, your life and story are yours, and it's our job to just run with what God's given us.
So if you're reading this, I ask you this with all the love in my heart that I can give: Please, let me be there for you. Let me be the kind of friend you've been for me. Let me love you like you've loved me, some of you even when I was totally unlovable. Just like Aaron and Hur held up Moses's arms, let me hold up yours. I feel so blessed to know so many incredible people and to be a part of your lives. No matter what is going on in my life or in yours, I will be here. It is my honor.