I’ve always been the type of person that likes to help or wants to be supportive of those in my life. It’s my way of showing love. Took me a long time to understand that about myself. I’m not into recognition or props. Just a thank you is fine. But it gives me great pleasure to be there for the ones that I love.
I’ve invested a lot of personal time and energy going above and beyond to help the people God has placed in my life. I’ve gone to kids programs or events in place of parents that can’t be there or I’ve gone just to show support. I’ve picked peoples kids up from school, or practice or other events. Or taken them to school or practice or other events. I’ve shown up to parties early and helped set up. I’ve stayed late to help clean up. When someone has been ill or hurt I’ve checked on them, stopped by their home, gone to the hospital and sat with them or held their hand while they were going through something uncomfortable or painful. I’ve made gift baskets for people who were in the hospital, released from the hospital or at home on bed rest and couldn’t come out. I’ve made a meal or dessert for someone who needed it or asked someone over for dinner because I knew they hadn’t had a home cooked meal and didn’t have money to keep eating out. I have had the pleasure of driving a friend early in the morning for an outpatient procedure, waiting for them then driving them home and making sure they were ok. I say pleasure because someone has done the exact same thing for me so I was blessed to be able to do it for someone else.
I’m not saying all of these things to boast or brag about myself but to bring to light that we often complain about what people don’t do for us or how they don’t help us but what are we putting out? What are we giving? What are we investing? I remember early on in my path of growing and learning to serve Christ I didn’t work and so I didn’t really have money to sow. I thought that this was the only way to give and often felt bad or like I wouldn’t be blessed because I couldn’t give financially. Thank God I learned that sowing a financial seed in church or blessing someone financially is not the only way to sow! Giving your time and sacrificing personal things you could be doing elsewhere is a form of sowing. That’s why we are encouraged to volunteer at church.
I have learned that what I’m expecting others to do for me I have to be willing in some part to do those same things for other people. We can’t constantly place expectations on others and we are not willing to do those same things or similar things to help someone else. One day we may fall ill and be bed ridden or need someone to pick our kids up from school but we’ve never taken the opportunities presented to do the same for others. It doesn’t mean that you go against what boundaries you have set up for your life and put yourself in situations where you’re taken advantage of. It also doesn’t mean it’s ok to always be doing something for that one person but they’re never there for you. But it does mean if you’ve got a sick friend check on them if you want someone to at some point check on you. If you’re complaining about that coworker that never offers to help when you have something big going on, take a step back and ask yourself when’s the last time you’ve done the same thing for someone else? I know sometimes certain things are out of our comfort zone and I shared a post about staying in our lane, working our strengths. Sowing time isn’t limited to just what we’re great at. Sometimes the sowing of our time could be sitting with a friends kids while she goes to the doctor or showing up just to sit with someone who’s having a tough time. And keep in mind that the same person you helped may not be the person who brings you the return on your investment! God may send it through someone else that you weren’t even expecting.
We often place expectations on those around us but fail to acknowledge the other ways they show up in our lives. We might help someone paint their home and then when it’s time to paint our home they don’t help with that but they ordered pizza and fed everyone for the night. Instead of being grateful for that we will complain that they didn’t help us paint not one time. Well maybe they suck at painting! Or maybe they’ve got a sick child at home and couldn’t invest time painting but still wanted to be helpful. So either you take the real blessing of pizza or you let them paint and then you’ll be wishing for them to take their painting “blessing” back. We have to learn to stop trying to choose how those in our lives want to bless us and accept the blessings that they’re giving from the heart. I don’t know about you but I prefer the heart filled blessings! And if you had a whole bunch of people show up to help you paint there’s the return on your painting investment so why did you need that person anyway? But you needed food and so that’s what God placed on that persons heart.
So I want to encourage you to not only take the opportunities God presents you to bless those around you, but to also take a good look at what you’re investing in before you complain about what someone’s not doing for you. It’s so easy for us to look at what those closest to us do not do or what we feel like they don’t do enough of. But take a look at the person as a whole and remind yourself of the other ways they’ve invested in you. Then when you find yourself on the brink of making a list complaining about what they don’t do (which I’ve learned that complaining is a sin and communicates to God that you don’t think He knows what He’s doing-or don’t appreciate what He’s doing….so we need to get our ungratefulness in check!) ask yourself what seeds have you sown lately or at all…..