Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Learning to Lean

Yesterday I blogged at length (whew, sorry) about preferring God to people.  I mentioned that one drawback of this is that we don't learn to lean on others in our time of need.  When I analyze why I don't like to lean on others when I really ought to do so, it is usually for these reasons--I don't want to trouble anyone, I have a trust or fear issue with the idea, I am too proud to humble myself to ask for help, support, or advice, and/or I fear (again) that involving someone will just needlessly exacerbate the situation further.  When an issue arises in my life, I usually first just pray on my own or with Matt, and look for answers or wisdom in the Word.  Nine times out of ten, this works perfectly--and we are called to do this when we need wisdom, clarity, or a solution to a problem.  But when it doesn't, it can seem easier sometimes to just try to carry it or bury it--even when we know we shouldn't do that and we many times do it without thinking. For many issues, reading your Bible and praying is all you really need--God is always there for us and He is our best source of strength, wisdom, and help in times of trouble.  But sometimes, we need added support coupled with the prayer and Bible reading.  As I quoted yesterday, there are many Scriptures in the Bible that confirm this fact--we need each other, and even God says so.

Last Saturday, Matt and I were strolling along Massachusetts Ave in Lawrence, as we often do on Saturdays.  We'd gone to have a nice brunch and ran into some acquaintance friends from church.  They were strolling, too, and so we stopped to chat.  They are an absolutely darling and special family, and own and run two of our favorite restaurants in Lawrence.  We love frequenting their establishments because it feels so great to financially support a Christian family--especially one as kind and genuine as they are (plus, Robert is a gourmet genius--their restaurants, "The Burger Stand at the Casbah" and "Esquina" are seriously creative cuisine at its finest!  I give my highest culinary recommendations)!  So we visited with them for quite a while, and enjoyed seeing their gorgeous, growing girls and meeting the family pooch.  Lucy, their Border Collie, upon realizing my immediate love for her (I am a dog nut), came over to me and leaned heavily against my legs as I pet her.  Being severe allergy sufferers, Matt and I cannot have a dog in the house.  This is a sad thing for us because we truly love dogs.  So we have to get our "doggy fixes" from other peoples' pooches--but I digress.  Lucy was so adorably hilarious.  She was literally putting her full weight on me while I pet her.  They apologized that she was doing this and said, "This is just what she does if you show her any love at all!  She is such a leaner!  If you moved right now, she'd just fall over!"  I agreed because though I've met other dogs that do this, no dog has ever leaned to Lucy's level--she might as well have been in my lap.  It was super -cute!  Suffice it to say, I have a lifelong friend in her now.  I even told them that if they ever need a dog sitter that makes house visits, I am their girl.  I'll take a Benadryl and be there with bells on for sure!

I thought about Lucy several times last week though (and not just how I really do hope this family will let me come care for their dog sometime)! I thought about how she trusted me enough to totally lean on me.  She gave me her affection back with no thought of, "Who is this stranger that is petting me, and what is HER deal?"  She was just happy to be receiving some love and was willing to return it with no caution whatsoever.  That is the life of a dog--at least one that has been treated well.  They are loyal and loving to a fault.  To me, Lucy's "leaning" was a perfect picture and example of how we need to be able to lean on each other with no hidden "agendas," no doubts, and no fears.  Just genuine, honest love and trust.  Dogs are all about people--they just want to love and be loved.  In the wild, they live in packs--they do not "fly solo," as I talked about yesterday.  If we have people at all in our life upon whom we can truly lean, and fearlessly withhold nothing because we know they won't abuse us for it and will love us back, we are so very blessed.  Richly blessed.  It struck me that we will not only miss out on immense blessings in life if we don't learn to lean on others, but also if we don't learn how to be lean-able for others.  We all need to be safe leaning posts--approachable, honest, kind, loving, trustworthy, and loyal.  I thought about the verse in the Bible that says, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight," (Proverbs 3:5-6).  Even if we aren't richly blessed with lots of people upon whom we can safely "lean," this verse reassures us that we can trust, love, and lean on God in ALL our ways.  He is the safest leaning post of all.