Is there an internal gnawing you can’t shake? Do you feel like something is missing? Is your soul experiencing an ache? Me too.

When we’re in the office regularly, we often notice a colleague whose demeanor appears “off” for a few days. We usually ask, “Is everything ok?” When you pass a trusted friend or mentor at church and they look you in the eyes and say, “How are you?” you share a heartfelt answer. This new season has shifted our patterns of offering compassion and seeking encouragement. We’ve lost some opportunities and points of connection. Thankfully there’s a solution — reach out and ASK.

ASK for help. True, it’s hard to ask from a distance. It’s much easier if I just happen to see you. It’s even easier if you’ve looked in my eyes with concern and said “How are you really doing?” I have a hard enough time admitting my weakness or need when you see me on a regular basis and you notice I need you. In this season, choosing to open the door to the mess I can hide from a distance takes courage and humility. Of course, I can and must ask God for help. Did you know, though, that part of how He helps me is through you? We are both commanded to “bear one another’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2). That is God showing up for me through you. You cannot read my mind, or even see it subtly written on my face. Yet the ache in my soul can be soothed — if I invite you in by asking.

ASK someone what they need or simply how they are doing. Part of God’s means of grace to me is not only that you help me but that I get to support you. Perhaps some sadness in our hearts comes not from our need for aid but our God-given longing to help someone else. The first couple weeks of the pandemic many of us prioritized reaching out — planning a Zoom (we’re all over it now, I know), picking up the phone to check in (and we all answered), asking friends and neighbors what they needed (and going out of our way to help). Are we still intentionally reaching out? Maybe you cannot provide what someone needs, but you can pray. Our spiritual souls long to “rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15).

Pause right now. What do you most need? Ask God for it. Then write down the first name that comes to mind. Reach out to him or her today and ask for support. If the need is something they cannot help fix, they can still bear that burden with you in prayer. You are not alone.

Pause one more moment. Ask God who needs a word or embrace from Him that you can provide. Write down that person’s name. Later today, reach out. Say, “I was thinking about you today and just wanted to reach out and say hi. How are you?” See where the conversation goes. Perhaps it will dive deep or perhaps they will simply know you care.

Three simple letters can comfort my soul — and give some solace for yours too. Go ahead and A-S-K.

 

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up. -Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

 

Kathy Harrelson

 

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This Thursday, May 28
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From Cinderella fairy tales to Friday-night chick flicks, the world is saturated with unrealistic views of love. But God’s love, known in Hebrew as hesed, stands in bright contrast as perfect, steadfast and loyal. We’re spending Thursday nights this summer talking about this loyal, life-changing love. Invite a friend and join us! We’ll be streaming live at 7:30 p.m. Learn more at www.ccbcfamily.org.

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