Over the past recent years we have heard the statement "check on your strong friend." A statement that holds so much value and brings insight to many perspectives. Coming from someone who is often deemed as the "strong friend" it can get frustrating sometimes when the strong friend is struggling. Most people who tend to carry the weight of the world on their shoulders often don't call out for help and even on the rare occasions that they do they still tend to find ways to care for someone else.
I will admit it can get annoying when you're already dealing with 1 million and 1 things and still have people asking or expecting you to do this and that for them when you simply just want someone to ask what can they do for you. Over the past few weeks I've learned that I'm not as gracious with myself as I should be. For some reason in my mind I often think it's my responsibility to take care of everyone and make sure everyone is good even when I'm not. One thing I do commend myself for is my willingness to seek and ask for help when I feel overloaded. Strong friends we have to remember to be gentle with ourselves. We have to be okay with saying "no" sometimes. We have to find peace in knowing that we did our best and planted seeds that will grow positive fruit but we also have to find peace in knowing that we can't make other people's choices and decisions for them. No matter how much we help, nurture, provide for, etc.. people will forever choose what they want to choose. I noticed that being the strong friend is more difficult in your adult years because you literally have to make the unwanted choice to watch someone fall on their face and when they do you blame yourself. We have to be free from that.
I realize that I often say or ask the question what could I have done more of? Sometimes there's nothing more that you can really truly do. We have to learn to find peace in the situations that we can't or don't have much control over. Learning how to let go and truly give things above us to God is essential. We have to practice thinking of ourselves in the process of thinking of others. We have to learn that everything is truly not our responsibility especially when it comes to dealing with grown folk. We also have to learn how to set boundaries and freely cut ties even if it's for a season in order to make sure we are whole and sane. We don't owe an explanation but we owe it to ourselves to be free.
We can put so much pressure on ourselves that we end up being so hard on ourselves when we don't seem to fulfill our expectations of what we feel our responsibilities entail. Everything is not our responsibility.
For those who don't really identify with being the strong friend. You know if you're not necessarily the friend that always get called on but instead the one that tends to do the calling (which there is nothing wrong with...everyone has different strengths), but be sure to check on and reach out to your strong friends. Cover them in prayer daily. Check on their mental state. Ask them what it is that they need or what you can do for them. The strong friends may be strong but they need someone too. Let them know they are valued and appreciated.
My prayer today is that those who are deemed as the strong friend receive a new level of patience. I pray that we learn to not take on all the responsibility and that we learn to transfer things over to God. I pray that we are more gentle and gracious on ourselves instead of being so hard on ourselves. I also pray that while learning to be patient with others that we are patient with ourselves too. I pray for a calmness in our minds and our hearts.
-Your Truly, Eb