In Part 1 of this post, we discussed that many times when faced with struggling friends, we take the passive way out and say, “Let me know if you need anything.” I believe that instead we should learn to say,
How can I help?
What can I do?
Do you need anything?
I struggle with chronic migraines, so there are many days when my body decides to revolt and all my plans for the day suddenly get cancelled.
On one such day I had scheduled a morning visit with my friend Kati. Feeling sick and weak and helpless, I called her to cancel. Instead of saying, “Let me know if you need anything…” she said four powerful words that scream “I love you:”
“Do you need anything?”
In fact, I did. My children needed to get to their community college classes by noon and I was so sick that I could not drive them. I had already called my husband and a friend and my neighbor and could not find anyone to take them. In tears erupting from my helplessness and desperation, I swallowed my pride and humbly replied to my friend,
“Yes, I do need something. Can you take my kids to school?”
My friend dropped her morning plans and drove across town by noon to take my kids to classes. And being the angel that she is, she also brought me food.
These four powerful words, “Do you need anything?” demonstrated that this friend loved and cared for me enough to drop her plans for the day in order to care for me and my family.
There have been many times when I have a debilitating migraine that I will ask my best friend Nicole to pray. Nicole, who has a busy corporate job, will text me back and ask if I need anything. Usually I tell her “no” but envisioning her walking out of the corporate boardroom to bring me a sandwich makes me smile. It makes me feel loved.
Other dear friends have also offered their help when I’ve been in distress. Even though I usually tell them “no” the fact that they were WILLING to do something for me right then just means so much. When I am at my weakest physical state and at the end of my emotional rope, these wise friends offer me a lifeline:
An offering of help.
An offering of hope.
I am not alone in my struggle.
Danny Silk, in his book Keep Your Love On, says that “Understanding one another’s needs is the Holy Grail of Communication.” He goes on to say when we ask people what they need, “They feel cared for and loved.”
I encourage you to start asking people how you can help, and what do they need. Don’t be passive and wait for your struggling, grieving, or sick friend to ask you for help. Be proactive and show your love by finding out their needs, and meeting them.
Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2 NIV