I’ve been irritated lately which is not a common emotion for me, so the fact that I’m irritated has caused me to be even more irritated. In short, I don’t want to be around anyone and I especially don’t want to be around myself. Excited about this fun, uplifting post? Just kidding!
But in all seriousness, have you ever felt like that? Where every noise, every sentence, every. little. thing. just seems to get under your skin? Every question is stupid. Heck, every person is stupid. And before your realize it, you find yourself turning green and destroying everything and everyone in your way.
During one of my recent monster moments of stomping around, my friend sent me a message and asked one simple question – “Do you feel like your friends aren’t good enough friends to you as you are to them?” It caught me in my tracks. I was literally picking up a building and getting ready to chuck it across town. But her sentence got me thinking. Is the root to our emotions often times tied up in the idea that we don’t feel known and loved by the people close to us?
I started to backtrack. Thinking of the times that I asked for help or favors or company and felt ignored. I thought about the grudges I held from those “I need a friend right now” messages I sent out that were answered with Bueller-esque silence. The more I thought about it and let it simmer, the more I felt justified in my anger. Because when you think like the Hulk, everyone sucks.
Then, I caught myself. When was the last time I was there for people? Being there and showing up for my friends isn’t a “one-time-fits-all” sort of thing, but yet we often see it that way. I’ll go out of my way to help a friend and in my selfish little head it will “count” as me being there for him/her for the rest of their lives. But showing up for your friends isn’t just a one time only or several times only kind of love. Really being there and being a good friend is showing up consistently – Every. Single. Time.
I started trying to shape up. I decided to be a better friend myself rather than focusing on feeling surrounded by the C-Team. So I began showing up whenever I’m needed (or not needed) without any expectations of anything in return. When my co-worker was in the hospital, I showed up. When my friend was recovering from surgery and wanted to watch the Alabama game (who is my least favorite team ever), I showed up. When my friend was going through an emotional breakdown and said she wanted to be left alone, I showed up. And I started seeing a change in me; that the more I showed up, the less I cared whether or not other people were doing the same for me.
We spend so much time telling people in our lives that we love them. But if we really examine the heaviness and emotion of love, we’d see that it isn’t just a word we use. No. Love is a verb. It has hands and feet, it moves people, it encourages, it brings goodness and hope and is something to share not to hide. Love, as we see portrayed many times in movies and fairy tales, is more powerful than any irritable Hulk that forms within us. We can waste our moments feeling sorry for ourselves or we can make a choice to do our part in stepping up, showing up and actually living out love as a verb. What we’ll discover is that when we focus our lives on showing love instead of hoarding it, we end up with more love than we started with.
We can learn a lot from the examples that have been set before us. The most impactful people in this world haven’t been the ones plastered on newsstands or standing on soap boxes, but they are the ones that showed up consistently and genuinely with their love. They didn’t just speak of love, but they showed it – sometimes even as simply as being present and making themselves available to the people around them. Take for example, a baby boy in a manger who answered the pleas of a suffering world. You see, our King didn’t send a fruit basket. He didn’t send his angels to do the work for him. He didn’t write a text message or post a “meaningful” note on our Facebook walls a couple weeks later. He made himself present. And not in the form of the angry Hulk, but through the endless hope and relentless joy of a baby boy. Our King came. He showed up.
Now, it’s our turn to do the same.