I've come to the conclusion that the phrase "I care about you" has become something we throw around too casually. We say it often, we say it with ease, and most times, we say it without truly understanding the weight attached to those words.
And what do those words mean? What does it mean to truly care about someone? Is just saying the words enough? Obviously the answer is clear: no, it's not enough. To care about someone, you need to put action behind your words. Some intentionality.
I think this is something our culture, especially the Christian one, has lost: the ability to be intentional with others. Which is truly unfortunate because intentionality is such a beautiful and memorable thing.
I think to be intentional with someone, it means you have to go beyond yourself. You have to take a step out of your comfort zone and put others before. And though that should be an easy thing to do, especially as a believer, often times it's one of the hardest to accomplish. Whether it's the fear of looking or sounding like an idiot, being too shy, or just not wanting to "deal" with others, we've lost the art of noticing. And, therefore, I think we've also lost the art of caring about others.
This past summer was difficult. It was challenging and painful in ways I've never had to deal with and for most of the summer, I felt weak and weighed down by burdens that seemed impossible to bear on my own. And despite being surrounded by many who earnestly told me they cared for me, few were willing to put actions behind those words.
See, I am not the type of person who willingly shares. It's not an easy process for me to undergo. I hate the thought of burdening others with my problems that seem so insignificant, so I bottle up everything inside until I feel like I'm at my breaking point. And I was at my breaking point almost everyday last summer. I know this is going to sound corny or dramatic, but I just remember practically begging God to make someone notice me. Notice that everything was not okay and somehow know that I desperately needed someone to talk to. And to be honest, no one really did.
Please understand this post is not coming from a place of resentment or bitterness. It's coming from a place of conviction. Because despite having felt such a great need for someone to notice me, I fail on a daily basis to notice others. I hide behind excuses of being too busy, or not having enough time to "adequately" invest in someone. And honestly, all of those excuses are just crap (sorry, sometimes that word is needed). I do have time. I know I do. I'm currently sitting here, writing this post, so obviously I have time in my "oh so busy" schedule to be intentional with others.
I just...I don't want others to feel the way I did. I'm not saying that if someone had pulled me aside one day and asked me "how are you" that it would have magically made everything better, but it would have given me encouragement. Because I think that is the heart of caring for others; encouraging them, giving them hope to face whatever is going on in their life. Hope is such a powerful thing and we have the ability to offer it to others, but we don't. And I don't know why.
Roxie (the housedog) is currently looking at me like I've lost my mind because I am practically punching my keyboard and getting a little fired up. So I'll take a breath from my ranting.
It's just genuine intentionality is so rare to find and I think that means we remember the times we have encountered it. I always remember those people who made an effort to notice me and make me feel comfortable. And I so desire to be that for someone else. Not because I want to be remembered, but because I want to let them know that there is someone out there who is praying for them and offering hope and encouragement.
We've been talking about this in my bible study and it's been hitting me hard. I have spent the majority of my college years practically ignoring those around me and now that I only have a few short months left, I want to make the most of it. I want to notice them, to listen to what they aren't saying, to be the person they can unload to, to care about them. I don't want to be just another person who doesn't recklessly throw around words with any weight behind them.
I want to go with intention.