When you can’t be who people think you should be

One of my blog readers, who is also my neighbor, recently had back surgery.  The outpatient surgery was scheduled for a Friday afternoon.  The day before the surgery, I was texting with her to let her know that I was praying for her.  I thought it would be nice if I made her some chicken noodle soup for when she got home from her surgery.

But there was a problem.  I had no celery.

Now a normal person would just get up on Friday morning and head out to the grocery store to get some celery.  But for me, I had been on the go all week, and that Friday was what I call a “jammy day.”  It was a day when I did not need to leave the house to go ANYWHERE.  I did not need to shower, shave my legs, dry my hair, put on makeup, or put on a bra.  I could stay in my jammy pants all day.  To me, a day in my  jammy pants is like heaven on earth.

That celery gave me fits.  I would think about getting ready and going to the grocery store, and all of the muscles in my back would tense up.  The thought was stressful for me.  It was not in my plan for my day “off.”  Staying at home, relaxing, working in the garden, and recovering from my week was my plan.

I held my breath and asked my friend if I could do anything for her following her surgery and thankfully she said no.  So I decided that the next week, after I went to the grocery store and got some celery, I could still make her some soup.  The celery and I made peace.

But I still felt guilty.  I thought, “a good friend would have sucked it up, thrown on some clothes, and gone out to the grocery store.  A good friend would have had a hot crock pot of chicken noodle soup waiting for her friend who just had surgery.  Clearly I am NOT a good friend.”

But then I remembered the things I HAD done for Sarah in the previous week.  I had walked down the street to her house to pray for her.  I went again to take her a vase of asiatic lilies.  I had texted her after her doctor appointment to see how it went.  I prayed for her, and texted her to let her know that I was praying.  I took her more flowers after her surgery as well as some gardening magazines to read while she recovered.

I had cared for Sarah and shown her love.  She even called me her angel.  I just had not taken her soup.  Some would say that I am just self-centered.  I think that I am just a planner who does not change plans easily.  I am a friend who does not like to cook.  But I’m not a bad friend.

Gary Chapman, in his book The 5 Love Languages, describes the different ways that we can show love to each other.  They are 1) Words of Affirmation, 2) Acts of Service 3) Quality Time, 4) Giving Gifts, and 5) Physical Touch.  The way I show love to others is through giving gifts and words of affirmation.  It is not as often through acts of service or quality time or physical touch.  I feel guilty even writing that with a chorus of “But you should!” singing over my head.

God made me the way I am and it is very hard for me to be someone else.  I’m not spontaneous.  I’m not flexible.  I’m not last minute.  Clearly, I don’t just “run out” to the grocery.   I’m Lisa.  And I love others the way that God create Lisa to love.  If you’ve ever received a card or a gift or a caring text or email from me, then you know what I mean.

How did God create you to show love?  Do you feel guilty because you don’t show love the way that people think you should?

Let’s give each other the grace to be who God made us to be.  If God made you a planner, great.  If you’re not, that’s fine.  If you’re spontaneous, wonderful.  If you’re inflexible, then so be it. If you’re always on time, super.  If you’re not, that’s fine too.  If you bring me soup, great.  But if you just text me and ask how I’m doing, that is just as meaningful.

Be who God made you to be because He was intentional in making you that way.  And let yourself off the hook if you can’t go out and buy the celery.



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