I listened to a distressed friend tell me about unappreciated she feels. She said she feels as if she is trying to show people closest to her who she is, but they refuse to see it. She asked me, “How is it that I can come from two parents who are so much one way and I am another? Why don’t they understand me?” Her family by her description lacks good character and integrity. They don’t follow through on their commitments, and they habitually lie and get defensive if it’s brought to their attention.
My friend is really in need of a break; she is married but the way things have been going, she may as well be a single mom. Many people in her life let her down and she can depend on very few.
I listened to her as I often do and was quiet. I don’t like to give my own personal thoughts about touchy things like this because often, depending on a person’s makeup and spiritual maturity, it could be misconstrued. The very first thing I told her was something at the end of this blog (I want to save the best for last). But then I heard myself tell her that it’s ok to be the only one.
I told her that I don’t know why she is the only one in her family that is positive, caring, and emotionally stable. I don’t know why she doesn’t ever receive reciprocity from people—why she pours out love to people and gets nothing but crap back from them in return. I don’t know why sometimes the same situations keep coming around (other than to test our faith). I don’t know the enemy is attacking her with such intensity, but apparently there’s something wonderful on the other side that he doesn’t want her to get.
I reminded her about how, in the Bible, Jesus healed 10 lepers, but only one came back to say thank you.
I reminded her about how Jeremiah told the Almighty God that He must have made a mistake when He chose him because he thought was too young to be used by God.
I recounted how Moses wanted to chicken out because he had a stuttering problem, and suggested that God choose Aaron instead because he was a better speaker.
I forgot to mention to my friend how Gideon wanted sign after sign from God to prove that He would be there to help Gideon complete his task.
These and many others felt weak in certain areas and doubted their abilities, but to achieve success, it starts with one person who has a willing heart and commitment to follow God no matter what. I asked my friend, “Are you willling?”
I told her that I don’t know all the whys in her situation, but I know the Who. It’s OK to be the only one when you’re making a positive change or impact. It only takes one person to leave a legacy. We have all heard the adage, “One person can make a difference.” We remember that when we celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, his wife, Rosa Parks, or countless others. You can be the first (and only) one in your family to do something positive. You can do things alone if need be. You are not the only one struggling. There are support systems in place, but whether you know where to look for them is a separate issue.
Whenever I feel discontentment or insecurity about where I am in life, or how my life is compared to what I think it should be, I have to stop and remember to be grateful for what I do have, and that I’m still here.
One last thing, which I think is profound, is a statement that I heard a very popular preacher say in a sermon I heard this week. I let this sink into my spirit, and my friend’s:
“You don’t need anybody to treat you a certain way in order to feel better [about yourself or a situation].”
Wow, if I could have gotten that memo years ago! Every single meaningful relationship I have ever had (siblings, dating, BFF, whatever) could have had a very different outcome if I had been able to grasp that.